The Venue – Hammond, IN
December 30, 2009
Witnessing the undeniable talent of John Legend live in concert for the second time in my life ended up making me bounce between two utterly different emotions. First off, I felt inspired and was left in awe of how amazing a pianist and songwriter John Legend truly is. Second of all, I couldn’t help but feel like a complete loser for being just six years younger than John Legend and not possessing even half of the musical gift and skill set belonging to this man. Legend did not have an opening act to warm up the crowd before gracing the stage himself. And to be honest, with as much music as Legend has under his belt, John did not need an opener to precede him last Wednesday night at Horseshoe Casino’s The Venue in Hammond, IN.
More photos of John Legend after the jump…
Set List / The Venue / Horseshoe Casino
Used To Love U
It’s Over (feat. Kanye West) / Remember The Time (Michael Jackson cover)
Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)
Let’s Get Lifted
Where Did My Baby Go
Magnificent (Rick Ross feat. John Legend)
Live It Up
No Other Love (feat. Estelle)
P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care) [remix]
Number One [remix]
I Can Change / Lollipop (Lil Wayne cover)
I Love, You Love
So High (Cloud 9 Remix) [feat. Lauryn Hill]
Green Light (feat. Andre 3000) / Sexual Eruption (Snoop Dogg cover)
Stay With You
Being a photographer at this John Legend concert definitely had its perks. I was informed by venue staff that John would be making his grand entrance from the front of house mix area. This is apparently how Mr. Legend kicks off all of his shows. Instead of just magically appearing center stage seated at the piano, Legend is escorted by venue security and bodyguards from the back of the audience and walks down the center aisle passing fans on both sides before making his way up a few steps placed near stage right. Legend proceeded to sing “Used To Love U” and “Alright” while standing up, dancing, and walking around on stage. By the third song “Satisfaction,” John had still not sat down at the piano, which I was expecting him to do as soon as the show started. It wasn’t until the very end of “Satisfaction” that Legend started playing his piano.
The first medley of the night came with the fourth song “It’s Over” off of Legend’s most recent album Evolver. The original recording of “It’s Over” features Kanye West, who thankfully was not there to make a cameo appearance. Instead, Legend and his band made a smooth transition into an amazing cover of “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson. Even though “Magnificent” is technically a Rick Ross song that features John Legend, the piece was included in Legend’s set for this show. “No Other Love” off of Evolver originally features Estelle, who also was not there to make her cameo appearance. Instead, one of John’s three female backup singers stepped in to sing Estelle’s vocals.
John Legend went all out last week while helping Chicago folks ring in the New Year. Legend’s band consisting of not one, not two, but three female background singers. Then there were the instrumentalists, with each of the following being played: keyboards, bass, electric guitar, drums, trombone, trumpet, saxophone (alto sax, I believe). And of course, there was John on the grand piano. The 31 years old GRAMMY Award winner from Springfield, Ohio chose a woman from the audience to come up on stage with him during “Slow Dance.” And what did the lucky fan do with John Legend? The two of them slow danced together while hundreds of envious women left in the audience watched, laughed, and cheered for the chosen fan groping the man of the night.
“Take your time with it!” shouted an enthusiastic woman in her fifties from the row in front of me while John Legend sat at his piano playing “Good Morning.” The rest of the night’s performance included intermittent shout-outs from this same lady. “Take your time with it” became my new favorite phrase right then and there. “I Can Change” turned into a medley paired with Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” which I have to admit was simultaneously perfect, yet upsetting. No matter how popular Wayne’s “Lollipop” remains, I still find the song gross and demeaning to women. Two more popular phrases overheard by yours truly throughout John’s concert were “Sing it, Precious” and “Play it, Baby.”
After leaving the stage upon the completion of hit single “Green Light,” Legend left the stage only to return moments later stripped down to a white wife beater tank top displaying John’s incredible upper body physique. Once the howling and whistling died down, John launched into a solo performance of his breakthrough single “Ordinary People.” Legend’s full band came back out on stage to join John for the final song of the night “Stay With You.”
Knowing this was their last chance to run up to the stage and snap a photo of John Legend, the women in the row in front of me took turns going in groups trying to get a decent shot of John. After group 1 came back satisfied with their digital snapshots, group 2 got up from their seats to begin their attempt. “Go on, girl. Get your picture,” exclaimed the “take your time with it” woman. Alas, venue security finally caught on to what was happening and made the women in group 2 go back to their seats before they even had a chance to turn their cameras on. If you remember anything from reading this, please let it be the phrase “Take your time with it.” And next time you are seated next to another huge fan at a concert, tell that person to “Go on, and get your picture.”