Live Review: John Legend – The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:04:50
Modern soul music does have a king, and his name is John Legend.
Now, he proved that tenfold last night during a sold out show at the Hollywood Bowl celebrating the legacy of the legendary Marvin Gaye. Legend is the only guy who could pull this off, and Gaye would undoubtedly be proud. The night proved so magical because Legend didn't just perform the songs from the 1971 classic What's Going On in homage, but he added his own undeniable spark to them. That's what soul music is all about at the end of the day. You've got to bring your own panache and savoir faire. It's a loose form of music that's more about feel than technique and natural talent than studying. It lives up to its name coming directly from the heart of one individual and going to another. Legend remained the perfect transmitter throughout the set.
Whether it was a haunting and hypnotic "Mercy, Mercy Me" or the swooning duets with Sharon Jones "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing", he captured the entire emotional spectrum present in Gaye's own original performances in recordings—from the rage and anger to the longing and love to the fear and hope. In that sense, everything converged into the kind of catharsis that revolutions are founded upon. That would've especially brought a smile to Gaye's face.
With a diverse crowd completely enamored at the Bowl, one of the most emotional moments transpired during Legend's rendition of "What's Going On". It's one of those songs that absolutely everybody knows, and that makes it so unifying and undeniable. Under a clear night sky and a warm summer breeze, its implications became even more inspiring, bringing together so many to celebrate one man's music and message.
Ultimately, Legend's own catalog feels even more potent because his ability to pull this off last night. He truly is the 21st century's king of soul and a worthy successor in the long line that includes Mr. Marvin Gaye.
Were you there?
Listen to John Legend below and feel it!