Friday, January 16, 2009

"If You're Out There"

John Legend sings about passion, with passion and style. The concert last night at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix was memorable, especially the view from the fifth row, allowing a close-up view of the performer. I was probably the only person in the crowd that did not know all the lyrics, but I could feel the intensity of his words and now understand why the crowd is drawn to the music, as the words and music truly display the love that they are about.
I love watching all the instruments and backup musicians, with a tower of electric pianos mixed with Apple computers but, truthfully, I loved the parts where John Legend sat at the piano, sometimes backed up by a variety of instruments but often just singing alone.
"If You're Out There" was his closing song of the encore (not really an encore but a short, two song second act) backed up by a slide show of leaders in history, ending, of course, with Obama. The choices were interesting -- Nelson Mandela, Lincoln, John Lennon, to name a few. He also talked melodically, between songs, while playing light melodies. One section was about his foundation that supports a village in Tanzania, while showing a slide show of his visits to the village. The audience could text a message to help eliminate global poverty, which goes on your cellphone bill. He told people to make sure and pay their bill, giving a glimpse of his background that goes well beyond the world of music.
It was memorable, there was love in the air and on the stage. If we see him again, I know that now I too will know all the words.
Now only if we could figure out how to eliminate the poverty closer to home, with the homeless people and their pets sleeping on benches in the blocks surrounding the Dodge Theatre. The man shown in the final picture in the slide show has a huge task ahead.