I was so ecstatic to see John Legend perform songs from ‘The All Of Me Tour’ on Aug 1st at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. I also got a chance to stay overnight at Mohegan Sun’s hotel in a room with an incredible view. I felt welcomed by the staff and enjoyed the amenities of the venue. I also couldn’t wait to see the arena, that holds up to 10,000 people. I was so amped, I arrived way ahead of time for the show, which began at 7:30.
Before the man of the night graced the stage, the very soulful and might I add saucy, Marsha Ambrosius came out to entertain the audience. She warmed the crowd up with a cover of Sade’s “Stronger Than Pride,” “Butterflies,” which she wrote for Michael Jackson and a bold song called, “Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)…which she had to tell the kiddies in the audience to cover their ears. When the singer from Liverpool sang her hit song from her days with Floetry “Say Yes,” the crowd went crazy. She ended her set with a new song from her album ‘Friends and Lovers,’ called “Run.” Her voice is extraordinary and very powerful. If I wasn’t a fan before, I am definitely one now.
After Ambrosius’ performance, I watched as more people filed into the stadium to wait for Legend who came on stage at 8:30. If anyone is wondering if Mr. Legend can fill a 10,000 seat arena, the answer is….Yes! He cruised on stage decked out in a pristine, royal blue suit, which made the ladies appreciate him even more. The screams that surrounded the amphitheater was enough to make a person go deaf.
He sang “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” with his smooth vocals and told the crowd, “I want to be the best you ever had.” I think he charmed everyone in the audience with that line as the swoons and cheers got even louder.
He told a brief story of how he got started. He worked with Lauryn Hill and Kanye West, who introduced him to Alicia Keys. He sang a lot of back-up for other artists but had a hard time getting his own music heard. He talked about recording his demo in 1998 and being passed over until he finally signed a record deal in 2004. He described his experience of playing to empty rooms as “a glorious rehearsal.” The message he told the audience, was to not give up on your dreams and as long as you stay focused, you can accomplish anything.
Legend had a nostalgic moment and had everyone sing along to his first single “Used to Love U.” He said West would let him play it when he toured with him, but at the time, no one knew the words. This time…everyone participated and sang the song as a unit. It almost sounded like a church choir as it became a “glorious performance.” Aside from singing slow jams and sweet love songs…Legend definitely knows how to get the crowd moving. Everyone got out of their seats and danced to “Green Light.” The concert turned into a mini dance party and I was ready to hit the club after that song.
Legend, whose real name is John Roger Stephens grew up in Springfield, Ohio. He gave us a glimpse into his personal life as he told the story of his childhood. He was raised in church by his Deacon father and choir-directing mother but his grandmother is the one who taught him to play the organ. He dedicated the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to her. She died when he was just ten-years-old.
After that somber moment, he played his new song “You and I” and then went into another crowd pleaser, “Ordinary People,” which also happens to be my favorite song.
The nine-time Grammy winner is the star, but the four-string quartet who accompanied him on each song was also amazing. The rest of the band, which included two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer…created a rich sound that increased the production value of the show. The music was so good it could stand on its own.
When Legend finally sang “All Of Me” as an encore, he came back on stage without the band. He sat at the piano and played the song I had been waiting for since I entered the arena. It just so happens to be the name of the tour and it was a beautiful way to end the night. I’m honored to say that Legend lived up to his name.