Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Raphael Saadiq Review - Twilight Concert Series

Raphael Saadiq was one of the Thursday night Twilight Concert's I was fairly excited to see, especially with all the hype surrounding other popular acts such as Nas and Passion Pit. To include a grammy award winning R&B act to the series was a great way to diversify the lineup. 

Saadiq began his professional career in the late 80's into the mid 90's singing and playing bass in a rhythm and blues dance trio called Tony! Toni! Toné! After the band split, he played in "Lucy Pearl," a supergroup with members of en Vogue and A Tribe Called Quest. He also collaborated on the D'Angelo Track "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," which won a grammy in 2000.

Upon finding his own record label in 2002, he released his debut solo album Instant Vintage, reaching number 25 on the Billboard Charts and earning him several grammy nominations. Shortly after he released a double-disc live album All Hits at the House of Blues 2003 and his second solo album Ray Ray in 2004. Ray Ray had much "looser" approach creatively, incorporating funk, R&B, soul and hip hop.

Nearly four years later in 2008 The Way I See it was released featuring "Love That Girl" as the first single. The album was well received with it's classic Motown R&B/Soulful sound. His latest effort Stone Rollin was released in 2011 with popular tracks such as "Stone Rollin" and "Good Man," which were amongst some of the songs played at the concert. 

Onto the show, with a little over 12,000 individuals in attendance, it's hard to imagine anyone leaving disappointed. The show kicked off with his backing band, although he took stage shortly after. I particularly enjoy(ed) Saadiq's ability to bring a modern approach to a traditional Rhythm and Blues sound, which also incorporates a significant amount of soul and funk. All elements which came through in full force live. 

Not only was Saadiq full of energy from the moment he took the stage, but his entire backing band was at times, more energetic than he was.  Another highlight is Saadiq's ability to perform live, singing, dancing and often playing guitar. At one point he was accompanied front and center by his  keyboardist and backup signer who did a spontaneous synchronized dance move (total crowd pleaser). Overall, soul was in the air. Saadiq completed another great Twilight Concert Show not  to be easily forgotten. 

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