Who: John Legend
When: Thursday, July 12
Where: Syracuse, NY @ the Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater
Why: As Part of John Legend's All of me tour
Out of the many concerts coming to Syracuse, NY this summer, this maybe the most different and unique. Tonight John Legend performed in front of a sold out crowd at the 2,200 seat venue the Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater. The temperature outside was perfect in the mid 70s as the night became warmer than the morning despite random rain showers. However, inside the Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater was a completely unique and personal feeling as R&B legend John Legend graced the stage after his warm up violinists and other musicians introduced him.
Wearing that constant charming smile, it was clear from the very first song Legend was there to impress tonight. In short, it was simply amazing hearing his tunes stripped down to true form with him and his grand piano with only a handful of other musicians on stage.
How the stage was set up was with just Legend and these musicians, alongside several couches where people sat behind them and watched, making it feel like a living room.
Although Legend's voice may have been slightly off key on some tunes in the beginning of the show, by the last half of the concert it was in powerful and magnificent form. The dude from Springfield, Ohio whose music background included New York City sure can sing, and he proved it tonight. His high pitched notes, especially during the songs So High, All of Me, Tonight and Used to Love You kept on getting better and better as he performed ever so gracefully.
Alongside with his talented voice was his ability to play the piano. His voice and the piano went together so smoothly it was just a pleasure listening for two hours. Legend leaving at the end of the concert after his encore performance of "All of me" just kept you wanting more of his spellbinding piano playing talent. It was great seeing him in such a small venue where, no matter where you sit, you could see his hands rush this way and that over the keys.
The crowd at the Crouse Hinds theater was a surprising mixed of younger and older people. One would think their would have been a lot more woman at the show, but more couples were in the crowd than anything else. Legend himself pointed this out, 'Men, your going to get lucky at a John Legend show, you scored big tonight!'.
The nice thing about the concert was hearing Legend talk in between songs about his music upbringings. He explained wisely how he wrote music, and told what many of the songs were about, including a lengthy description for the song Maxine. He had very nice things to say about Kanye West and Usher, who was his first ever big tour back in 2004.
Legend later told how most of his music influence came from being in the church and being raised that way by his parents and being in a very religious family.
The best moment of the night and certainly the highlight was when Legend sang "Bridge over Troubled Water". It was so powerful that it sent chills down your spine watching his version of it. Legend also performed a great stripped down piano lead version of "Dancing in the Dark" by Springsteen.
Overall, the concert was well worth going to and one of the best so far Upstate NY has to offer this year.
4 in half out of 5 stars ****/*
A or A+
Photos coming soon
Full Set list coming soon