The Re-Birth of Soul: Raphael Saadiq at Showbox 11/16

Review by Willie Matthewson | Photos by Brittney Bollay

At this year’s Bumbershoot, I only saw the last 5 minutes of Raphael Saadiq’s show.  But it was the best 5 minutes of the weekend.  That does not count as seeing Saadiq perform either.  Tonight’s show; however, was an electrifying performance. The voice is no secret – you’ll immediately recognize it from your Tony, Toni, Toné mixtape.  No cause for alarm, though, you’re not in the middle of a boy band reunion.  Instead this was a crafted mix of the old and new. The nine-piece band was impeccably dressed in fitted suits and ties – you could tell from the moment a foot hit the stage that the band meant business.

Their groove had the crowd charged for Raphael’s entrance in a shock of brilliant red.  The schoolgirl squeals took me back to the days of Motown as Saadiq flew into “100 Yard Dash” and “Keep Marchin” with full vigor.  The crowd was ready and kept the pace.

Did I mention how beautiful the crowd was?  Beautiful and energetic.  There was dancing, flirting, and swooning all night long. The ten-song first leg of the set was classic R&B accentuated by the dynamic back-up singers, and irreproachable horns. But after a quick change, Saadiq explored 70’s R&B with a cover of Sly’s “Underdog” and demonstrated his bass skills on a sultry version of “Skyy, Can You Feel Me”.

The crowd was purring.  Even more when Raphael’s jacket came off. Saadiq demonstrated that he has been creative and musically involved with top modern R&B/hip-hop pedigree such as Anthony Hamilton, D’Angelo, Kelis, Q-Tip, Ludacris, and Joss Stone with “We Fight/We Love” and  the funky “Get Involved”.  The band was tight, ending the night with a rousing bluesy jam of “Let the Sunshine In”.

Raphael Saadiq’s Full Setlist:
100 Yard Dash
Keep Marchin
Love That Girl
Dance Tonight
Be Here
Let’s Take a Walk
Never Give You Up
Sure Hope You Mean It
Stayin In Love

Skyy, Can You Feel Me

We Fight/We Love
Get Involved
Big Easy
Let the Sunshine Outro

It would be a shame to omit any mention of the opening act – the sultry and leggy Los Angeles based vocalist Anjulie.  Even though Anjulie is a relative new performer, she displayed a charismatic ease for entertaining.  Her band was precise and followed Anjulie’s cues to sync the music to her seductive choreography. Don’t take this to mean that undue emphasis was put on making the show a visual performance; her songs were solidly crafted and performed.  This was a night of pure unadulterated entertainment. The Canadian born singer’s voice was strong and dynamic yet she seemed restrained until hitting a comfortable stride on “Love Songs” and “Addicted”.  The Seattle crowd – always tentative – showed signs of comfort and even swayed to the fresh rendition of Annie Lennox’s “Why” followed by the chanteuse’s recognizable pop number “Boom”.  She closed her set by enticing a member of the crowd onto the stage to dance to her Latin-styled “Jamba”.

Full Anjulie setlist:
Big Things
Rain (perfect song for tonight)
Love Songs


~ by clickdagger on November 18, 2009.

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