Last night John Legend succeeded in flirting with the entire audience at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. The crowd cheered as Legend walked on stage in a tightly tailored grey suit. He performed his opening songs, “Made to Love” and “Tonight”, with an effortless confidence.
He greeted the audience in a genuine and charismatic drawl. Saying with a wry smile, “I don’t want to brag, Adelaide, but maybe I do!” He reminisced on his career, sharing snippets of his first breaks into the music business – a few bars of piano for Lauryn Hill, backing vocals for Alicia Keys.
Legend described his All of Me Tour as “stripped down and unplugged”. This is an accurate, if succinct, description. The support band never overshadowed his grand piano and deep blues voice. He used only the instruments that elevated each song, playing several unaccompanied and easily holding the audience captivated. One of my personal favourites was a superb orchestration of “Save Room”, performed with his string quartet.
He introduced several songs by facing the audience and serenading us directly before moving back to the piano to complete the experience. His control of the piano was masterful and hypnotic. He paid tribute to his grandmother, who taught him to play gospel as a child.
He asked the crowd to stand, sing along and sway to “Ready to Go”, which he paired with a zealous cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You”. His talent was contagious. He often asked the audience to sing along and after some coaching we were able to create an echoing chorus for “All of Me”. He turned around and affectionately took a selfie with the crowd, then blew a kiss before walking off stage. It was a bittersweet farewell.
Dami Im was the perfect supporting act. Her bubbly personality mirrored the excitement of the crowd and her powerful voice complimented Legend’s own. Her air was friendly and down to earth, despite her sophisticated ball gown. I enjoyed her folk rendition of “Merry Christmas to You”, but preferred her original songs to the other covers she performed.
Review by Nicola Woolford.