Sade World Tour 2011 started its US portion in June of 2011. With special guest John Legend and fantastic stage effects, all critiques have given a phenomenal rating. I attended the concert in Houston, Texas at Toyota Center on the 23rd of July.
Waiting outside for the doors to open, I was able to indulge in a short period of people-watching. Some of the fashion statements were not easy. Since we were in Texas and outside at 6:30pm, it was very warm and still sunny. Some guests had to arrive with a chauffeur to help them out of their vehicles. Two ladies stepped out of one car with bold blue, platform heel, booties with 70s frills reaching the floor. They wore leather skirts to match and I think their hair was a unique shade of orange. Another couple wore matching shades of light blue, her blue and grey dress and his pin stripe suit. They were cute. Compared to other major cities, such as Atlanta, GA or New York City, the styles were not very impressive, but they did try.
Once we got in, everyone headed straight to the concession stand for a drink due to how hot it was outside. I got water…of course. Next stop was the merchandise table. I was glad to see a large assortment of t-shirts, posters, and key chains. However, none of the stuff had Sade and John Legend together. There were only two t-shirts with John Legend and about ten shirts with different shots of Sade. Each t-shirt had a list of the tour cities on the back. There were two posters of Sade and one name tag chain. I bought a t-shirt and a program, a great addition to my concert memorabilia collection. I then bought a Papa John’s cheese pizza.
We found our seats and settled down. My pizza was delicious, not sure if it was the pizza or my hunger. The music playing while we waited ranged from The Brother’s Johnson to Notorious B.I.G. The crowd belonged to a slightly older demographic – I think my sister and I were the youngest ones there. It was also very diverse. I think every ethnicity was represented, with mixed couples included.
As the lights in the arena dimmed and a slight hush went over the audience, the stage lit up and the band began to play. Walking to the front of the stage wearing a white suit and a charming grin was John Legend. With a grand piano to his left and three back up singers swaying to his right, he began singing “Rolling in the Deep” – made famous by Adele. For the next hour, John Legend had the audience rocking to “Let’s Get Lifted,” “Green Light,” and his other popular hits. We sang along with every song and harmonized quite well in “Ordinary People.” He flawlessly played the piano and reached every note vocally. There were three men sitting behind us that I would vote as the loudest singers…they knew every John Legend song.
An intermission of about 30 minutes occurred while the crew dismantled John Legend’s stage set and installed Sade’s stage set. There was some impressive equipment being rolled on the stage and each member of the crew seemed to work with such precision. During the intermission, the majority of the audience decided to purchase some more snacks and/or merchandise.
Then it was time for Sade. The stage production was phenomenal. Their entrance was to the tune of “Soldier of Love,” where they rose from the ground as if a storm of flames brought them there. The entire back wall of the stage was a huge screen, which showed footage from the music video and other clips made for the show. The acoustics were perfect and the group did not miss a note. For the next two and a half hours, the ultimate collection of Sade records were showcased in a wonderful blend of talent, special effects, and friendship.
Sade’s voice is timeless with its unique sound and pitch. Each song she performed resonates with so much emotion that each lyric sounded brand new. She also dances so gracefully. There was no heavy panting or choreography, but it went so smoothly with the music. The band is awesome. I liked how each member had the opportunity to showcase their talent and personality within each song. You could also tell that they were all having a good time. My top favorite is the saxophone player – who also plays the guitar. He just looks so cool and really knows how to make that saxophone sing, which is one of my favorite instruments to listen to. When they performed “Jezebel,” the back screen depicted a larger-than-life video of Stuart Matthewman playing along with the real Stuart on stage. His solo always gives me chills…the good kind.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show. One thing I thought would happen was a collaboration or duet with Sade and John Legend, but it turned out to be two shows in one. The audience seemed to be more of a Sade audience then a John Legend audience because the arena was not packed during John Legend’s segment. The main difference I saw between the two is the connection between the band and the vocalist. In John Legend’s case, he is an exceptional musician and singer, but his band and backup singers do not convey the same vibe. It seems they are just performing for the show and then will go their separate ways afterwards. Thus, John Legend’s segment did not come across as the complete package, but he was still great. On the other hand, Sade was more of a group production, where everyone was showcased individually and collectively. This was reinforced when they performed “All About Our Love,” where clips of the group ranging from the 80s to now showed them performing and hanging out together.
It truly is amazing how long this group has remained together. Sade is an English R&B band that formed in 1983. It is named after their British-Nigerian lead vocalist, Sade Adu. The idea for the band began in 1982, when members of a Latin Soul band called Pride – Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman, and Paul Denman – along with Paul Anthony Cook formed a break-away group and started writing their own material. Their debut album, Diamond Life, with the single “Your Love is King” was released in 1984 in the United Kingdom and peaked at #2 on the UK Charts. That same year, their first US single was “Hang On To Your Love.” Now with six studio albums, four compilation albums, and six world tours, Sade is definitely a victorious soldier of love.