It’s been 12 years since D’Angelo’s last run and the Voodoo Tour went into history books as one of the best live performances of all time. Who would’ve thought that by getting married and moving to Amsterdam with my husband I’d get the chance to see his comeback!
Thursday’s show was originally set to take place on last Monday, but was postponed due to D’s foot injury caused by a jump off the stage in Paris the night before. The local concert hall, called Paradiso, here in Amsterdam holds around 2,000 people and when D’Angelo’s show starts, the energy from the full hall is palpable.
As the lights dim, D’Angelo’s new band The Testimony take their position on stage and immediately go into “Playa Playa.” Though the crowd cheers, the soul man himself still hasn’t been seen. As the opening jam ends and the lights come up, D’Angelo enters the stage and goes straight into a funky uptempo version of “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” Even before getting to the chorus the crowd sings along and it’s visible that he enjoyed being back on stage.
Next up is “Ain’t That Easy”, a new song reminiscent of early Funkadelic. As the lights go down again we hear a familiar sound, “Devil’s Pie”, during which D and Jesse Johnson (formerly of The Time) share a moment on guitar. The song builds up to an incredible climax with D’Angelo head banging with background singer Kendra Foster (of Parliament-Funkadelic) and then flowing into “Chicken Grease”.
D takes the time to talk to the crowd a bit and we fans get to hear how amazing D sounds after all these years. Then “The Line” blends into “The Root,” which he keeps faithful to the album version.
When R&B’s prodigal son walks off to get his guitar, Prince influenced chords of “The Charade,” another new song plays over head. The song ends and the Paradiso is in complete darkness just before an amazing moody cover of Parliament’s “I’ve Been Watchin’ You” floats up through the speakers. Resting his guitar, the man himself speaks to the crowd, “I missed you so much … I followed you all the way home… ,” he said. “And when I came home…
I couldn’t believe what I saw with my own two eyes … Shit …”
A moody and emotional version of “Shit, Damn, Motherfucker” follows, causing two women to pass out. After a band break, D appears behind a piano alone with a cigarette. After a moment of silence for Etta James, Clare Fischer and Don Cornelius, we find ourselves in an intimate jazz club setting as he plays “Brown Sugar,” “Jonz In My Bonz,” “Spanish Joint,” “Me & Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine,” “Cruisin’,” “Higher” and “One Mo’ Gin.”
Happily encouraging the crowd to sing along, D’Angelo plays the first chord of “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” and the audience goes absolutely wild. Then, the band returns and we get another new song called “Another Life,” boasting hints of The Stylistics and a bit of Voodoo material.
Next up is “Sugah Daddy,” another new song mixing heavy Funk and Prince notes. And after repeatedly teasing the crowd by returning to the song’s opening cures, D’Angelo finally says “That’s really it” and leaves the stage. The crowd goes wild for an encore and receive a redux of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, a ‘remix’ of “Brown Sugar,” which ?uestlove dubbed the 2012 version of Prince’s “Mutiny,” and with Jesse Johnson on guitar, it is a great comparison. After a 10-minute tease, D finally declares “We really have to go now” and when the lights go up, it really does feel like I’ve seen one of the best shows ever.
For more images of Mr. D’Angelo, check out our UK sistren Gabi over at Iamthenublack!
Also, here’s a link to that SPIN article on D from 2008, to celebrate how far we’ve come, eh?
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