Last night, Nick and I went to see John Legend perform during his #AllOfMeTour at the Kauffman Center here in Kansas City. It was a fantastic performance! I’m so glad I splurged on the tickets a couple months ago. Worth every penny.
I’ve loved John Legend’s music since my brother introduced me to it about a decade ago, with his first album Get Lifted. I loved it so much Nick and I used “Stay With You” as our first-dance song at our wedding in 2011 (d’aaww). I was thrilled to hear Legend play it live!
Legend’s two-hour set covered tunes from all four of his albums, with the most from his latest, Love in the Future. It was wonderful to hear songs from his previous recordings too, though, and the simplified instrumentation (string quartet, one guitarist, and Legend on piano/vocals) was great. I loved that we had a chance to hear Legend’s piano chops emphasized more in this setting than on the albums—some versions I even liked better! I was glad when the balance was corrected pretty quickly—it was just a touch loud at the start of the concert, and the guitar was completely drowned out.
Despite Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center seating 1600 and this concert being sold out (although there were a few criminally empty seats!), Legend was able to make the room feel intimate. I’ve been to other shows in Helzberg where this has been achieved, too, like my recent attendance at Regina Carter’s March show there. He was so charming and down to earth, even trying to coax the audience into a couple of sing-a-longs… however from my vantage point the crowd was a little hesitant and shy on those.
A couple of covers were included (a soulful rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” and gospel-tinged “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel), as well as Legend’s track off the Think Like a Man soundtrack, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had).” Legend introduced “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with an anecdote about musical influences in his childhood, specifically his late grandmother who played organ at their church, and then dedicated the song to her. After all I just went through losing both my grandmothers in the last six months (my last one just a couple weeks ago), this really touched my heart.
Legend saved his biggest hit, currently Billboard #1, “All of Me” from Love in the Future, as his solo encore. So so good. He’s just a solid, expressive songwriter, especially on ballads, but also has range thanks to influences of funk, R&B, soul, gospel, Motown, hip hop, and more. It was an awesome concert!