Sade's show at Nassau Coliseum last night, part of her first tour in nearly 10 years, was so good it could have been a clinic for today's pop stars. Here are some of the amazing lessons she taught:
-- It's the melody, stupid. There isn't one crazy melismatic run in the entire Sade catalog, but no one would ever argue that she isn't a great singer. She has both power and control and she uses them in nearly every song, keeping to the melody and using her phrasing to make her points. It's more effective than “Yeah-eee-eee-ya-ya-ya-ooh-ooh!” Really.
-- Baby, you're the firework. Coliseum-sized shows don't need every bell and whistle to hold the audience's interest. The biggest special effect in the Sade show comes during the encore “Cherish the Day,” when she stands 15 feet or so above the stage on a “building” that's meant to be part of the New York skyline. She also uses confetti effectively during “By Your Side,” when it flutters down over the crowd to match the lovely lilting song. (That said, even though she obviously needed the time to change outfits, the lengthy film introduction for “Smooth Operator,” an homage to the original video, went on a bit too long. It was really the only issue in the whole show.)
-- Be gracious. Sade very sweet to the audience, whom she told, “We will take you with us in our hearts,” and she explained how its support was overwhelming. She also made a point of introducing her band graciously, saying kind words about each member and giving them a moment in the spotlight, as well as a big hug. The fact that such onstage kindness is unusual is actually kind of sad. Hopefully some musicians seeing her show will make that change.
Full review: Lovers, audience, rock to Sade performance
SET LIST: Soldier of Love / Your Love Is King / Skin / Kiss of Life / Love Is Found / In Another Time / Smooth Operator / Jezebel / Bring Me Home / Is It a Crime? / Love Is Stronger Than Pride / All About Our Love / Paradise/Nothing Can Come Between Us / Morning Bird / King of Sorrow / The Sweetest Taboo / The Moon and the Sky / Pearls / No Ordinary Love / By Your Side // ENCORE: Cherish the Day
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