By Raegan Hedley (@raegjules)
The headliner of this year’s 25th Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, John Legend, told the crowd at the Burton Cumming’s theatre Saturday night, “I want this show to feel like your just hanging out in my living room, just chillin’ with me.” Having released his first album, Get Lifted in 2004, Legend brings 10 years of career experience to the stage, and enough soul to capture the tastes of international audiences.
Legend’s hands rarely left the piano he was seated at. He talked intimately with the crowd about his career and about how he wrote the songs he was going to play, all while still playing a few keys on the piano. When he did get off the piano to sing Maxine with the bassist, he proved that whatever instrument his voice is paired with, he carries the songs with his naturally booming and vocally dynamic — comparable to melted butter over toast.
An expert on romantics, Legend asked one of the couple’s that were seated on the stage behind him how they had kept their marriage so strong for 16 years, and he dedicated You & I to them, just one of the many hits he played from his newest album, Love In the Future.
It was hard to not feel the love during his performance, between the notes of the piano, his sensual voice, and the bass, cello, and violins; Legend seems to be aware of this fact, as he said “Guys, I feel like I’m setting you up to get lucky tonight… unless you say something stupid to screw it up.”
After dedicating a song to his late grandmother (Bridge Over Troubled Waters), playing a Bruce Springsteen cover that he performed on “Fallon,” and joking with the audience about how he learned his romance from his father, who took him mother to Red Lobster on date night, you can’t help but fall in love with John Legend himself.
An award-winning voice like no other to draw you in, and a great personality that is reflected in his lyrics, John Legend knows how to hold a crowd captive under his charm.