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John Legend Concert Review – Cape Town


23 December 2005 No Comment

Going to see your favourite artist live is risky. That’s what I thought as I sat washing my hair, doing my nails and purchasing a new outfit (not all at once and with my man’s money!). Tonight Cola Brown was going to see John Legend

And I knew what the risks were: 75% chance of never being able to listen to John Legend again, 5% chance of excruciating stomach pains every time I see his face in a magazine, 10% chance of getting a migraine every time I hear him on the radio and 10% of utter regret and complete disappointment. And still I braved the cold Cape Town weather and bravely marched forth.

And let me be straight form the start – I did not know what to expect. Since the moment I heard that he would be performing in Cape Town, I did a crazy windmill every time I thought of him. I did not know nor did I care who the supporting acts were. And when the first artist performed I wondered if I should have stayed at home and picked fleas off my cats instead.

His name: Ernie B from Cape Town. Although I can’t remember any of the songs he sang, I know that he did it with a certain degree of professionalism. And I would be lying if I said that his songs were unique in any way. He was okay….but his dancers…..OH MY GOD THEY SUCKED. I had horrible flashbacks of my school days when the kids who thought they were cool would perform a dance number on Valentine’s Day. They were so "slap gat" and without rhythm that I couldn’t bear to look after a while. And the outfits looked as if it had been made by their grandmother. Luckily they weren’t on stage for that long. I was relieved and still the only thought on my mind was John…John…John.

So when this guy stepped on the stage with a towel around his neck, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Oh God, he watches too much MTV. Acting like his a damn superstar." Why can’t he just sweat and be cool with it like normal people? But I guess when the cameras are turned on…you have to be a bit vain. The group: MXO. Never have I seen anyone perform with such enthusiasm and charisma. He had everyone on their feet, waving their hands and acting as though they were too drunk to give a fuck. And after that Ernie dude we were in serious need of some good music. I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I was by his performance. He had complete control of not only his own voice but of the crowd as well. He worked them.

After MXO, Slick Angel walked on stage. And you couldn’t help but notice the singer – he wore a blue suit. Mind you he looked great in it. The only problem was that he sucked. Okay, let’s be nice – his music did not appeal to the majority of the Cape Town audience. And I had a great view of them while in the VIP section (yes, I had to get that out of my system).

He also had the most annoying habit of wanting to speak to the audience in between his songs. Now that would be acceptable if his songs were 2 minutes long. But his songs were soooo boring and all his talking just prolonged my agony. None of the ass-shaking and jumping like a basket ball player did anything to get people excited. After a while I got the idea that he was begging the crowd to pay attention to him. The biggest applause he got was when he walked off the stage. Well, at least from me that is!

And then the stage darkened and I could see and hear that things were being moved around. Everyone was trying to catch a glimpse of John. Every few minutes I would clutch my sister’s arm because I thought I spotted him…..but always nothing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but he surprised the hell out of me when he finally stepped on stage. First there was darkness…and then the light and BAM!!….John Legend’s on stage. Now I could tell you all the songs he performed, but the truth is that just like a good old fashion sex dream (to men they are wet dreams) the details get lost along the way. All you do is emerge with a wonderful feeling of….fulfilment.

I can tell you that he performed two new songs and that I never heard a crowd respond to anyone the way they did to him. Mandela could have stood right next to him and no one would have noticed. He did not only sit at his piano, he got up and walked around. Now that is really something when you consider just how cold it was on Saturday night. And no ladies, he did not shake his hips or do anything provocative to get people to listen. I knew in that instant that this was an artist whose CD I would buy every time he brought out a new product.

I did not waste my energy shouting, screaming or even singing along to his songs. That was a luxury I have at my disposal every day at home. I looked at him all the time. I listened to the way he improvised on his songs and the energy he gave to it. It seemed as though he breathed new life into dead songs. I can’t explain it in any way beside this – I don’t know when I will have the courage to pop his disc into the computer again. The songs (as excellent as I always knew them to be) pails in comparison to seeing and hearing him live.

Review by Cola Brown

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