I rarely feel the need to write reviews, as I believe everyone should experience things on their own accord and decide whether they like it or not. However, I feel compelled to write this one, just so I can give you a taster of the joy I felt last night.
After waiting (im)patiently for around ten years, I found myself in the National Indoor Arena last night, waiting to see the man that makes my iPod playlist beautiful. Mr John Legend. *swoon*
Judging by the fact I had polished off a three course meal just minutes before the event, I couldn’t help but question if such a show would make me nod off into a comfortable sleep. As the lights dimmed and the band took their place, I could sense the anticipation in the arena. It hit me then that I was literally 12 rows from the front. Seconds later, the main man sauntered onto the stage, in a slim-fitted blue suit, topped with his signature cheeky grin. “He’s so dreamy!”, I gushed, and at that moment I was certain that every woman (and a few men) in the arena was thinking exactly the same.
Straight over to his piano, John started with the perfect opener, ‘Made to Love’. Accompanied by his outstanding string quartet, John effortlessly hit every note in the song – wholly comfortable with the fact that all eyes in the room were fixated on him. The next two belters, ‘Tonight (Best You Ever Had)’ and ‘Let’s Get Lifted’, were a welcome reminder of his early years as a musician, and a mere taster of what to expect throughout the evening.
One thing I never really knew about John Legend, is that his humour is second to none. Before bursting into his first single, ‘Used to Love You’, John shared his journey to fame in the most enlightening way. This man isn’t just piano and soul, he oozes charm, wit and has banter that puts almost every other guy to shame.
His set list combined old with new, proving perfect with the mixed crowd of old, young, couples, families and screaming girls. For classics such as ‘Maxine’ and ‘Save Room’, John ditched the piano for a stroll across the stage, almost as a gesture of appreciation for every single person that turned up for him. I think he underestimated the fact that sharing his talent did just that.
Upon finishing ‘P.D.A (We Just Don’t Care)’, John requested for everyone to get up on their feet for ‘Green Light’ and a special version of MJ’s ‘Rock With You’. As a few of us were already dancing in our seats (including me), we relished the opportunity! By the way, the man can move!
One of the most significant songs of the night was dedicated to John’s late grandmother. His rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ was utterly gripping. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the arena, as we all watched in awe. He received a well-deserved standing ovation. One of the best moments of the night.
‘You and I’ and ‘Caught Up’ followed, obviously inspired by John’s relationship with his beautiful wife, Chrissy Teigen. This woman was now envied by every woman in the arena, and I hear she was just a few rows in front of me!
The evening drew to an end with two of the most beautifully written and composed songs of John’s career, ‘Ordinary People’, and ‘So High’. As the audience sang along, I detected a sense of disappointment, only as we knew the end of the show was approaching. Almost like knowing you have to leave the sweet shop after sampling the tastiest, silkiest caramel truffle.
The band continued playing as John strode off stage, leaving us craving a little more of the sweet magic we had experienced. And we got it. John came back to deliver his most famous song of all time, the wonderful ‘All of Me’. As he realised that the audience knew all of the words, he watched with pride as we all sang our hearts out. His grin hinted that he was aware he had made our night.
I left the National Indoor Arena with goosebumps, something I’ve never experienced after a show. I felt privileged to have spent the evening with Mr John Legend. I must commend the NIA for the excellent sound and lighting effects, making it the perfect venue for such a show.
I, for one, will not wait another ten years for my next fix. See you next time, JL!