Concert Review: John Legend at the State Theater

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Hip-hop/R&B/neo-soul sensation John Legend and the very saucy opener Tamar Braxton blessed Clevelanders with their presence at the State Theater Saturday night.

Legend, the Ohio native, assured his audience, “I’ll always be a Buckeye,” and mentioned his family from Springfield, Ohio, was present in the audience. Perhaps, then, he chose the carnation artwork on his newest album, Love In the Future, which dropped August 30th, 2013, in honor of his home state.

State flowers aside, nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend played nearly every song from his Love In the Future album; even some of the shorter interludes like his Anita Baker cover “Angel.” Speaking of covers, Legend sang “Open Your Eyes” off of Love In the Future, from blue-eyed soul artist Bobby Caldwell, and flawlessly recreated Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” as he originally did in 2012 on the Jimmy Fallon Show (look it up, you won’t regret it).

Though his Love In the Future album consumed a majority of the show, he included his hit song “Green Light” (unfortunately no special appearance from André 3000) off of his third album, Evolver, the tremendously sexy “Save Room” from Once Again, and “Let’s Get Lifted” from his debut album Get Lifted, which really had the crowd going. People got lifted. Did he sing “Ordinary People”, you ask? Of course. The neo-soul super-star has fortunately not lost touch of what the people love about him and his voice poured out those unforgettable lyrics “maybe we should take it slowww,” similar to the way the melted chocolate cascades over the Twix bar in the commercials (yes, I went there).

Obviously, the crowd wanted more, and they knew he would come back because he had yet to sing his biggest 2013 hit, “All of Me.” Sure enough, he came back with those crushing piano chords, and the music video for the new hit song featuring his new wife/model Chrissy Teigen played the background. Surprisingly, all the ladies in the theater refrained from booing and hissing at the model when she appeared on the screen…great self-control ladies. He finished with his catchy retake on Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” off of Love In the Future titled “Who Do We Think We Are?”

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