Last night I attended the D’Angelo concert at the Eventim Apollo in London. D’Angelo announced his European tour in November which encouraged rumours that the 41 year old singer may be releasing some new music after nearly 15 years since his last studio album, ‘Voodoo’. The rumours came true on 15th December 2014 when D’Angelo and his supporting band, The Vanguard, dropped the 12 track album ‘Black Messiah’. The album is fantastic which stirred the hype around the tour even more.
D’Angelo visited London back in February 2012 and performed at the Brixton Academy and I remember that being incredible and possibly one of the best concerts I had ever attended… until last night. He did not disappoint. The concert started with him on a dark stage alone reciting ‘Prayer’ and followed with 2 generous hours of everything from new music like ‘1000 Deaths’ and ‘It Ain’t Easy’ to old classics like ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ and ‘Left & Right’.
D’Angelo is a born performer. He was dancing throughout and performed with so much confidence and swag, echoing the likes of Prince and James Brown. He was joined on stage by The Vanguard which include guitarist Jesse Johnson, bassist Pino Palladino and backing vocalist Kendra Foster. They too added to the fantastic performance. Kendra especially was full of energy, bursting with dramatic dance moves and beautiful vocals.
To those who think D’Angelo’s voice may have weakened over time, especially with his previous drug abuse, they are very mistaken. His vocals were brilliant, his falsetto as strong and his lower register as soulful as ever.
At every opportunity, D’Angelo touched the hands of his fans. He must have reached out to every single fan in the front row and even with those from a few rows behind who ran forward to reach out their hand, he would lean forward and meet his fingers with theirs. My jaw dropped open when he casually jumped off stage and walked into the audience and I was kicking myself that I didn’t have a ticket downstairs (I was at the front of the balcony).
It has been a long time since I have attended a concert with such high energy levels. It was when he performed his hit ‘Brown Sugar’ that everyone stood up, even the people upstairs on the back row. The whole place was dancing and appeared to be completely fixated with his performance.
After playing two encores, D’Angelo ended the concert with ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’ which is one of mine and many others’ favourite song. The performance was so moving and beautiful. Towards the end of the song, he jumped on his piano and started playing. One by one, his band walked off, each one receiving huge round of applause from the audience. Pino Palladino was the last to leave the stage and there was D’Angelo, on his own again. He started the show on his own, and he ended it on his own. It was the perfect way.
You can watch some of the videos I took below.
Ain’t That Easy
Feel Like Makin’ Love
Untitled (How Does It Feel) – 3 separate videos showing different stages of the song