Music, at its finest, reinvigorates the soul, especially when experienced live. D’Angelo’s breathtaking performance at the Keswick last night exemplified this in spades. With a 10-person backing band and multiple wardrobe changes to go along with his James Brown voice, swagger and never ending energy, it was quite a sight to see and hear.
Playing to support his stellar 2014 release Black Messiah, he filled the Glenside theatre with warm harmonies and lush beats. The crowd may have needed a little nudge to collectively rise and move or dance in place, but D’Angelo knew exactly when to do it during the opener “Ain’t That Easy.” And shake and clap along to the rhythms the near capacity audience did throughout the two hour set.
Raising hands up high to salute and remember those who died last week in Charleston, “The Charade” was certainly one of the highlights. And to get the crowd stirred into a sing-along frenzy of the word “sugah” for “Sugah Daddy” was quite an aural experience.
Unfortunately one quarter of the audience thought the show ended with the first encore, but D’Angelo and crew came out to finish with a spectacular rendition of “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” Ending with just D’Angelo alone on his piano, belting out the trance-like refrain of “how does it feel,” he seemingly left the crowd with a feeling of jubilation and renewal.
Meg Mac opened with a spectacular set that expanded her sound greatly from World Café Upstairs as heard at NonCOMM. With vocals reminiscent of Florence Welch and a vivid lyric sensibility, the Australian-born singer was a great warm-up. Her glorious cover of Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” was the highest of many highlights.
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