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Concert Reviews:
John Legend Makes Private Show A Special Event
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT -- It was not a show just anyone could see -- and it was the kind of concert they should have.

R&B singer-songwriter John Legend's performance Wednesday night (Nov. 14) at the Max M. Fisher Music Center was part of a Get Together series sponsored by Bailey's liquor, meaning attendees needed to be 21 or over and know the secret handshake or password in order to get in. As it was, 800 of them did and were fortunate enough to witness a particularly intimate performance -- and then some-- by the multi-platinum, five-time Grammy winner.

Wednesday's show wasn't only a Legend concert, though he and his 13-piece band worked their way through hot, vamped-out arrangements of buoyant, soulful hits such as "Heaven," "Let's Get Lifted," "Rock Creek Park," "Ordinary People" and a version of "I Can't Change" that morphed into the Beatles' "I Want You." But the show also allowed Legend, like a proud poppa, to showcase the artists on his burgeoning Home School Records label, including singer Vaughn Anthony, his younger brother, the rapper Diggy and particularly Estelle, a man-smashing British singer and MC.

With her debut album, "Shine," due out in February, Estelle understandably received favored nation status and made good on it with her five songs, including the single "Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)" and the love song "Come Over," which featured generous support from Legend.

Legend added an even more intimate touch during Wednesday's encore, dedicating "So High" to good friend and mentor Kanye West's late mother, Dr. Donda West. "Our prayers and our love go out to his family," Legend -- whose own mom came up from Springfield, Ohio, for the show -- told the crowd. "You gotta appreciate your mother." And anyone who was there had to appreciate just how special an opportunity they'd been afforded.

Those who weren't aren't entirely out of luck, however. The Get Together show on Nov. 9 in New York was filmed and will be broadcast on Dec. 16 on the cable channel TV 1.



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