Everyone should have a “bucket list” — a list of things that they feel they want or need to do before they “kick the bucket.” I have not finished putting my bucket list together, but there are certain musical acts that I have to see at least once in my lifetime, and Sade is one of those artists.
Before a packed house at Philips Arena on an extremely muggy and humid July evening in downtown Atlanta, fans were all abuzz about seeing John Legend and Sade. John Legend gave a great performance, presenting an hour-long set of his hits including “So High,” “Ordinary People” and “Green Light,” featuring Atlanta’s own Andre 3000.
After a short intermission — and a 10-year hiatus from the road — a beautiful Sade emerged onto the stage amid screams from the audience who was extremely excited to see her perform. Sade wasted no time getting the crowd to their feet by starting off with her hit song “Soldier of Love” from her critically acclaimed album with the same title.
Her hair in a simple ponytail and dressed in comfortable black slacks, a sheer black shirt and sensible shoes, this R&B-pop diva went through her discography of classic music and new hits for the next two hours. Stories about life, love, pain and pursing happiness were told with each song, note and movement. The British Nigerian singer has managed to stay humble, down-to-earth and relevant by doing nothing other than putting out incredible music. She even spoke to the audience about how much she loves Atlanta and that our “Love Is King.”
After a quick change of clothes into a black vest, white shirt, black slacks, hair pulled back into a perfect bun and that infamous red lipstick, she went into “Smooth Operator,” and her fans sang each word with conviction. As her band members played, they showed the audience why they are worthy of being with an artist like Sade, sounding better than the CDs on songs like “Jezebel,” “Stronger than Pride” and, of course, “Sweetest Taboo.”
Having sold more 23.5 million records in the United States alone, I understood why the crowd was so diverse — black, white, young and old — and all had one thing in common. All of us were fortunate to see an incredible show put on by the London native and have her take us on a musical journey.
After one more wardrobe change, I heard the sounds of helicopters, guitars and bongos. Looking gorgeous in a white-and-silver dress with her hair down, a shoeless Sade began singing “Like Paradise,” and we even got to see her shake her groove thang as she did a little salsa dancing. She looked like an angel as she sang “There Is A Woman In Somalia.”
As Sade ended the night, thanking the audience and introducing her band, satisfied fans left the arena with wide smiles on their faces. They felt, as I did, that we had just witnessed a classic and iconic performance from the brilliant artist that we call Sade. –christa e. jackson