I’ve been eagerly anticipating soul-singer Ledisi’s concert since the release of her latest, The Truth, and the announcement that she was touring with Robert Glasper Experiment.
Eager because I’ve read article after article on Ledisi’s transformation and growth; watched her perform on Black Girls Rock last year and David Letterman in March; and noticed how free her spirit appeared during her I Blame You video, and this interview on YouTube.I knew seeing the singer up close and personal would solidify everything I perceived – that Ledisi truly has reached the point of living a full and genuine life.
With third row seats at The Warfield in San Francisco, I was a close as I could possibly get to seeing her star shine.
And this was her best performance yet.
There is something inherently powerful, inspiring and remarkable watching a woman live and stand in her truth, and it was evident from the very beginning of the show that Ledisi is a woman no longer confined to a box.
She’s lifted the constraints; broken the chains of societal conformity, and has fully embraced her authentic self.
Through five costume changes, Ledisi, with her locks steadily swinging, gave us her truth with each note, vocal improvisation and dance moves.
Ledisi dancing? Yes you read that right, and sistagirl has some great moves!
“Yes honey, this is the new me, and I’m not ashamed of it! Actually, this has been me all along; I just haven’t been able to express myself!” she said.
With hips swaying during That Good Good, she switched from her short black and white polka-dotted halter dress, to an all-black and silver ensemble for Rock With You and Bravo.
And that right there is proof of what makes her standout from what’s playing on popular radio today. Ledisi is a truly powerful soul singer who can hold her own against the greats.
Every Ledisi show I’ve attended always ends with a message of encouragement, and Wednesday night was no exception. Leading up to the inspirational song Alright, Ledisi reflected back to the time when she was ready to give up and leave music. One conversation with her mother changed everything and helped her create the song Alright.
“Right at the brink of giving up I called my mom and said, ‘Mom, I think I’m going to quit; I just don’t fit in.’ She said, ‘Ledisi, I don’t want to hear all that; you’re going through some things but you gonna be alright.’ And I said, ‘Dang that sounds like a song.’ Now she wants 15 percent every time.”
My greatest take away from the show: A woman should never lose her “walk.”
What Ledisi gave on Wednesday night was an unforgettable, was she really singing and dancing while maintaining great vocal integrity performance that won’t soon be forgotten. And she achieved this all while looking flawless and fabulous!
Favorite moments: While performing Stay Together (her duet with Jahiem off her Pieces of Me album), she role played, singing his part in a deep, throaty voice; and Lose Control where she acted out a very intense, um, pleasurable bedroom moment.
The challenge the Robert Glasper Experiment faces is his album contains a plethora of guest singers, including Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Chrisette Michelle and show headliner Ledisi. There’s no way every featured artist will show up just to perform one song.
Enter saxophonist and keyboardist Casey Benjamin, who held the vocal responsibility load. He began and ended with auto tunes. Through Sade’s Cherish The Day, to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and on, I kept wondering, “Are we ever going to hear his real voice?”
No. He sung every song with help from the audio processor. It came to be irritating towards the end.
Enter singer Martin Luther, who provided some respite when he joined the Experiment for his rendition of Anthony Hamilton’s Yet To Find. What a great voice Luther has!
“Ladies, old school taught me that you must never, ever lose your walk. . . . Your walk is your insurance, I’m told. He start acting up, you start walking, cause somebody’s gonna look at that walk.”
“Now if you’re asking if he’s going to be there in the morning, then this is the wrong relationship for you.”
“Listen to me, ladies, we’ve got to support each other much better than we are. We’re so different and it’s a beautiful thing to be different. And sometimes we look at each other, if we’re not wearing a certain thing, we talk bad about each other. That’s not good. We should embrace each other as we are. Right?”
Setlist: That Good Good, Rock With You, Bravo, Like This, Think of You, Goin’ Thru Changes, Higher Than this, Stay Together, Anything, The Truth, Lose Control, In the Morning, Pieces of Me, Gonna Be Alright, Alright, I Blame You