JOHN LEGEND, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 13 Sept 2017

In a crowded field, John Legend has been one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken celebrity critics. The smooth pianist’s date music was an unlikely place to look for political fire, yet it was occasionally present, most obviously on the closing song Glory. The Oscar-winning theme from the 2014 film Selma, it was played to a backdrop of civil rights marches and Black Lives Matter protests, while Legend said: “Sometimes it feels like we’re marching for the same things that we were marching for years ago, but we won’t give up.”

More subtly, Penthouse Floor had an irresistable bass groove while its lyrics concerned the lack of people like him in privileged places.

However, there were just as many baby videos. He celebrated the family life with his wife, witty supermodel Chrissy Teigen, that has made them one of the internet’s most popular couples. Right By You (For Luna) was dedicated to their daughter.

The set overall was almost too slick, with every speech sounding rehearsed and even a female fan, plucked to join him during Slow Dance, turning out to be as confident a mover as the star. There’s no denying the appeal of that voice, as rich as a dessert you shouldn’t have, but as with Legend’s character in La La Land, success can sometimes stifle access to true soul.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.