How does it feel…..after waiting 17 years to see one of your favorite artists of all-time live? How does it feel…..to finally see the artist that you feel created two of the best R&B albums (Brown Sugar and Voodoo), ever created? How does it feel…..to know that others drove from Vegas, SD and San Fran and flew in from further just to be in the room to witness a one-of-a kind sold-out return, filled with nervous anticipation and lofty expectations? Pretty frickin amazing.
From the moment I received an alert on my cell that D’Angelo was suddenly doing a show in two weeks, I counted down the days, filled my time with other amazing music but in the back of my head, I knew I had a date with destiny. Returning to the Los Angeles stage after a 12 year hiatus (well, technically if you count the BET Awards where he performed on Sunday, it was three days but I don’t) plus watching clips of the shows in Europe and Bonnaroo a few weeks ago, I knew D was back with a vengeance. It’s as if he sensed the genre was lacking and was finally ready to take the crown back from others who pale in comparison. Ok, ok, enough gushing.
Having dinner before the show at the HOB restaurant, patrons could clearly hear D’Angelo and his band rehearsing a few songs. The minute we heard his voice, we stopped what we were doing and sat in silence, listening to how nasty and raw the funk and soul was, filling the halls and crevices of the place who, over the years, has seen many greats play there. Around 10 PM, D’Angelo finally takes the stage, greeted with deafening applause. The man is sexy without even trying,channeling the swagger of James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Prince and Jimi Hendrix, seducing each girl in the audience unconsciously one at a time. Doing a mixed set, previewing his new album, James River live, he also threw in classic joints like “Playa Playa”, “Feel Like Makin Love”, “Devil’s Pie”, a slow, sensual version of “Sh-t, Damn, M-F”, “Send It On”, “Lady” and “Brown Sugar” to name a few. People around me kept saying “Wow” and how “lucky they were to be there”; when you elicit comments like that, you’re back. Period. I’ll be talking about this show for days, weeks, months…Yeah, it was THAT good.