Thursday, December 6, 2007
Stevie Wonder In Concert
Over the past two years or so I have been going to concerts of classic artist who either do not tour much anymore or might not be touring again. I started out with the Eagles in 2005 and then came Steely Dan, Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan in August of 2006, I saw Aretha Franklin in October of the same year, and finally I saw Diana Ross in April of this year. I enjoyed each show immensely. This week I got to see the ultimate show of none other than the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, yes the “Harmonica Man” himself, Mr. Steveland Morris (Stevie Wonder).
With pen and paper in hand (like a reporter of sorts) I found my seat in the fifth row. I knew I wanted to share my experience with those who visit my blog. Stevie is an awesome performer and if he comes anywhere near your town I would encourage you to check him out because the man is awesome, truly a WONDER!
Stevie was escorted on stage by his daughter Aisha (yes the baby immortalized in the song "Isn't She Lovely"), who is also a member of his backup group. After bantering with the audience he sat down at the piano and began singing "Love's In Need Of Love Today" with Aisha. Stevie then went into a series of his lesser known probably newer stuff, which wasn't bad, but I came to hear the hits not the "B" sides. After this set of virtually unknown music the crowd was back to life by a funky rendition of "Living For The City", which was followed by "The Master Blaster Jammin".
Using the voice box (the mouth apparatus used mostly by Roger of Zapp fame) Stevie performed "Betcha By Golly Wow", "Give Up The Funk", "Soul Man", and "We Are Family" as an prelude before transitioning into "Higher Ground", which was followed by "Golden Lady" and a crowd involved version of "Ribbon In The Sky" (I sang until my throat was scratchy) . I am including an entire list of songs performed at the end of the post.
Besides Aisha the back up singers included another lady named Kim and a male singer named Keith John. Well the male singer was introduced as the son of none other than Little Willie John of "Fever" fame (I know Malcolm of pop culture dish will appreciate this tidbit). The guy even broke out in his own rendition of his famous father's song...Classic stuff.
The band consisted of electric and acoustic guitar players, a bass player, two percussionists, a drummer another keyboardist besides Stevie, and a young boy named Jeffrey who played the harmonica on "Blowin In The Wind". The band was wonderful and vocally Stevie was at the top of his game. Of course if he wasn't on some type of soap box (war, racism, discrimination, etc.) it wouldn't be Stevie so I expected and accepted this. There is nothing quite like a little politics mixed in with your entertainment.
The concert ended on a high note with a performance of "As" (which I thought should have been entitled "Always"). A performer of Stevie's caliber has enough hits to sing for days without repeating a song, so you know he left the crowd wanting more. I would have liked to hear a medley of "Little" Stevie Wonder songs ("Hey Harmonica Man", "Contract On Love", "Everything Is Alright Uptight", or even "Fingertips") and two of my personal favorites "That Girl" from "Original Musicaquarium" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet" from "Songs In The Key Of Life". He performed for well over two hours, but if it had been up to me I would have kept him there all night. Below is a performance of "Superstition" on Sesame Street.
Loves In Need Of Love Today
Visions In Our Mind
Livin For The City
Master Blaster Jammin
Bet You By Golly Wow, Give Up The Funk, Soul Man, and We Are Family
Ribbon In The Sky
You And I/Days Of Wine And Roses
Send One Your Love
Blowin In The Wind
How Will I Know (Duet with Aisha)
If You Really Love Me, I Got The Feelin, It's Alright (Duet with Kim)
Don't You Worry Bout A Thing
Sign, Sealed, Delivered
My Cherie Amour
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
I Just Called To Say I Love You