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SunSpots: Sade - Well Worth the Wait!

Soleil! Just hanging around!





Sade - The Experience from the Rafters

Sade at the United Center?! "No way," I thought, "her personality is way too mellow to fill the United Center up to the rafters" - which was where I was seated. Well, I stand corrected!

SadeBefore I get into the performance itself, I have to give kudos to the stage design and media concept! It was so perfectly Sade!  Instead of overpowering Sade with theatrics, the design empowered her!  The stage was set-up in a minimalist style that mimicked Sade's simple grace, fluidity and subtle dynamism. The musicians and back-up singers weren't permanently fixed in one location, tied to electronic cables and what-nots. Rather, there were multiple platforms that would vary from song to song - sometimes recessed below the stage, elevated and/or at stage level - adding movement in a unique form of choreography.

Sade Photo by: Sophie Muller

What Sade "lacked" in complex dance moves was more than compensated for by the incredible media!  Varied video images were projected on video monitors on either side of the stage, the stage background, the stage floor and/or a sheer curtain in front of the performers.  We saw playful, yet seductive, video of Sade in a  garden; black and white images of the live performance on full and split screens; amorphous images projected through the curtain onto the performers; and an assortment of pre-recorded video.  At times, she interacted with the video - walking along the projected roads, moving with the projected dancers and even deferring to the images.  The effect was extraordinarily stunning and creative (true to the Sade persona!), setting moods that were powerful, playful, romantic, ethereal and dramatic!  So, even at the rafters, the visual effect was captivating!

Then, there was Sade!

Pearl Pearl - Photo by Gabriel Coutu Dumont

Sade opened with Soldier of Love, backed by the projection of images from the video.  Her arrival was met with the roar of a very enthusiastic crowd and she clearly appreciated  the welcome.  She thanked her fans for keeping the fire burning for her and then launched into Your Love is King.  Sade was in wonderful form, and performed a number of songs from Soldier of Love - her first release in ten years!  The new music was warmly received, but her classics pushed her fans over the top.  One of the many standouts was Pearls (There's a Woman in Somalia).  Sade appeared completely alone (with her band neatly tucked away in the recessed platforms) and completely commanded the stage with passion, powerful lyrics and moving vocals!

She sang her butt off for 2  1/2 hours!!! 

SadeTo see Sade and to hear her is to feel that time has stood still - and time has definitely been kind to Sade.  She is elegant, effortlessly beautiful, sultry and authentic.  This tour represents the first live performance by Sade in ten years and it is taking place more than a year after the release of her newest CD.  Why so long?  She wanted to be sure she was ready.  Clearly, she is!

A subscriber gave me tickets to the concert, otherwise, I wouldn't have gone.  I was skeptical and remained so through John Legend's performance and until the instant Sade appeared on stage.  I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be proven wrong!  Tickets are still available for the Saturday and Sunday performances.  If you can get tickets on the floor or close to it, do that - I can only imagine how much better it would have been closer to the stage.  But, this is a review from the nosebleed seats, so if those are the only tickets available to you - go.  You are guaranteed to fall in love all over again!

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