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.

Songs Performed:

Loves In Need Of Love Today

Too Fine

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

Higher Ground

Golden Lady

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

Sir Duke

I Wish

You Are The Sunshine Of My Life


I Just Called To Say I Love You



Barbara (aka Layla) said...

This was ALMOST as good as being there....well, okay it wasn't nearly as good as being there but you did a darn good job of capturing the evening! I took notes at a Bruce Springsteen concert once :)

Glad you have fun. Stevie is GREAT!

pjazzypar said...

barbara (aka layla),

Thank you for the compliment. I am so happy that I had an opportunity to finally see him. I wanted to see him when I was seven, but no one would take me. He is affable and intriguingly insightful for a non sighted individual.

Malcolm: said...

Excellent review! You are right about Stevie having such a huge catalog that it would be impossible for him to do a show without leaving off some fan favorites.

I didn't realize that Little Willie John had a son. Keith's performance of "Fever" had to have been a pleasant surprise.

I wonder if he doesn't do songs from the days before he hit puberty because of issues regarding the songs being in a different key due to his voice change. Even though it obviously wouldn't sound like the record, I think the crowd would love to hear at least a few lines from songs like "Fingertips", "Workout Stevie Workout", and "Contract On Love".

pjazzypar said...


I never thought about the fact that his voice is lower now, but have the band drop down a couple of octaves and sing the damn hits now (LOL)! But seriously thanks for the compliment.

Keith John was a very pleasant surprise because even before Stevie announced who is was, he had my attention because he was dancing his ass off and enjoying himself.
All in All if I ever get a chance to see him again I will definitely order up a ticket.

Uncle Bobby(A.K.A. scorpionbbb50) said...

Say pjazzy there is this one stevie cut that never hit the top of the charts but I like it whenever I hear it but the name doesnt come thru but the words are like its a world like, the trees, it will get better etc. I hope that was enough info you know I could never hit a note w/ a hammer(LOL!!!)I have it on a mixed c.d.I will hit you later with better info glad you got to see Stevie the closest I got to see him was being ushered through D-metro airport 2 yrs. ago and no he was`nt singing so I will keep that in mind to try to see him the next time he comes home(Sagnasty FORMERLY KNOWN AS SAGINAW,MI. or do the D iwill catch his show as I said he`s my fav. musical activist Mr. Bobby