I’ve told you guys before how D’Angelo was my first love. His 2000 “Voodoo” album was one of the first CDs I ever bought, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve listened to it almost every night for 15 years. D’Angelo was known as the face of the Neo-Soul movement in the 90s, and he shaped my love for good music. Real music. I was enchanted by his stunning vocal range, raw magnetism, and conscious lyrics. A few years after Voodoo, D’Angelo disappeared from the music scene. There were personal and legal problems, drugs, a jail sentence. It seemed like he’d crashed and burned. And then last year I started hearing that he was back…
So a few weeks ago, I was on my way to work when my eyes caught a brightly coloured poster on the wall. As I got closer, I stopped in my tracks.
You know when your heart jumps into your mouth, you can’t breathe and you want to snatch your wig off and run screaming down the street? It was that kind of situation, honey. I jumped online immediately, terrified I was too late and tickets would be sold out. Thankfully God had my back and I nabbed the last ticket in the stalls. WOOP!!
Fast forward to last night and there I was at the Hammersmith Apollo, screaming with the crowd as the lights went down. And then suddenly, a burst of blue lights, wild horns, pounding drums and there he was!
We fans lost our goddamn minds as he prowled across the stage, laughing and waving. You guys… every note, every hum, was like a caress. I screamed myself hoarse. He served us with the big hits from his new album, Black Messiah, stirring us into a frenzy with “Sugah Daddy.” But shiz got real when he took us back to the Voodoo days. Lawd I was dancing up a storm, stomping my feet, clapping my hands, shouting “THAT BOY GOOD!”
After those troubled years away from the limelight, people were skeptical about how he’d handle this new tour.Let me be the first to tell you, he is still EVERYTHING. That incredible voice has matured and broadened, and his energy was just astounding. He was bounding across the stage, running back to play gorgeous trills on the piano, strapping on a bedazzled guitar, and interacting with the crowd. It was amazing to see the passion he has for the music, the way he and his band (who were just off the chain) were like a well-oiled musical machine. I loved seeing the old James Brown call-and-response style of working with the band.
A couple of hours later, thousands of fans hollered and clapped, demanding an encore. D’Angelo and the band burst back onto the stage to bring us home with his biggest hit: “Untitled (How Does it Feel?)” This is without a doubt my favourite song ever, so I was just overwhelmed with joy at this point. The heartbeat-heavy-bassline, wailing horns, and gorgeous vocals were better live than I could have ever imagined. This song was for anyone who was harbouring doubts about his talent after the long absence. The famous falsetto was flawless. And when he sang that line “I’d love to make you <insert pearl-clutch> in between your thighs” there were no knickers left in the crowd. Honestly. Panties just ceased to exist. Good Lord.
As the song went on, the band and backing singers left the stage one by one, to thundering applause. Finally it was just him on stage, behind the piano. The last few notes he sang were the sweetest and richest I have ever heard. After the last “How does it feel?” he looked out at us and laughed, “It feels so good, London, thank you! Goodnight!”
And it did feel so, so good.