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John Legend dazzles in a homecoming show at Verizon Hall

John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

R&B nine-time Grammy award-winning artist John Legend took the stage at Verizon Hall on Tuesday night. Playing a sold-out stripped-down acoustic set in support of his latest album, Love in the Future, Legend – who got his start as a musician locally while attending University of Pennsylvania – wooed the audience with his soulful, piano-driven performance, accompanied by a guitarist and a string quartet. Despite the large size of the performance hall, Legend’s frequent interactions with the audience made the show seem quite intimate. He was open to song requests, and he encouraged the audience to clap and sing along at points during the night.

Throughout the show, Legend shared several personal stories with the audience in between songs. At one point, he described his method of writing songs, stating that the music comes to him first, followed by gibberish placeholder vocals, and eventually the lyrics pieced together into a story to make a song. In addition to performing selections from his latest album as well as older favorites, Legend performed a couple powerful, yet delicate cover songs. He did Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” revealing that Springsteen requested that Legend perform his interpretation of this song at the 2013 MusiCares event honoring Springsteen himself. After sharing a story about how his grandmother had such a strong influence on his music, Legend dedicated a soulful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in her memory. After a standing ovation, Legend closed the show with an encore performance of his smash hit “All of Me.” Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mirah at Johnny Brenda’s, John Legend at Verizon Hall, Helms Alee at Boot and Saddle

Mirah | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Mirah | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Fresh off her On the Hill Series session, Philly-born Portland-based acoustic singer/songwriter, Mirah, will play Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Her latest album, Changing Light, was released on May 13 via Absolute Magnitude.  You can find more info and tickets for the show here; below, revisit “Cold Cold Water” from her second LP Advisory Committee.

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John Legend playing in York and Philly in May

Photo courtesy of artist.
Photo courtesy of artist.

John Legend is playing the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York on Tuesday, May 13th and touches down in Philly on Tuesday, May 20th at Verizon Hall. Legend is touring in support of his recent studio album, Love In the Future. The R&B singer-songwriter and University of Penn alum is touring with a string quartet in what promises to be an intimate, soulful affair. Go here for tickets and more information.

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Download of the moment: John Legend w/ The Roots cover Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”

John Legend and Questlove
John Legend and Questlove

In February, 2012, Bruce Springsteen was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for an entire week to celebrate the release of Wrecking Ball. Some of the guests during the week included Kenny Chesney, Elvis Costello, and John Legend who performed “Dancing In The Dark” with The Roots. Download it below.

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John Legend to deliver MLK lecture at UPenn on 1/16

Nationally-renowned R&B / soul singer (and University of Pennsylvania graduate) John Legend will return to his alma mater on Wednesday, January 16, to deliver the university’s 12th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture in Social Justice. While studying English and African-American Literature at Penn, Legend (offstage name: John Roger Stephens) became active in the university’s a cappella scene, and also began building his name performing at downtown blues venues.

For his appearance, Legend will be interviewed by Penn professor Camille Z. Charles at Irvine Auditorium; tickets are free and available at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts box office at 3680 Walnut Street on a first-come, first-serve basis. Go here for more information. Below, watch Legend performing “How I Got Over” from his collaboration with The Roots at Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.

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John Legend announces Fall tour with XPN Artist To Watch Lianne La Havas opening; playing Tower Theatre in November


John Legend has announced a Fall tour that comes to the Tower Theatre on Thursday, November 1st. Legend is releasing a new album called Love in The Future and was co-Executive Produced with Legend, Kanye West and Dave Tozer. You can listen to a snippet of “Caught Up,” co-written by Legend and West here. Opening the show is the new British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas who is WXPN’s Artist To Watch. Tickets to the show go on sale this Friday. Go here to purchase tickets. Below, watch Legend and The Roots perform Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.”

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