Tuesday, 14 June 2011

iLive... SADE x The O2 Arena x May 31, 2011 (Review)

What a NIGHT! What a Concert! What a Performance! What a Woman! What a Band! Where do I even begin because Sade at the O2 Arena was/is easily one of my favourite concert experiences in a long while and to think that Ms. Sade Adu and her band had not performed in her home country in near on twenty years (since 1993), you had to wonder why it's taken so long for them to come and do what they did at the O2 Arena last Tuesday (May 31) - they were simply PHENOMENAL and I bet we would have no qualms at all paying to see that set countless times between 1993 and now BUT alas I digress a bit...

When the good people at Superbreak (I'll tell you about them shortly) reached out to us with tickets to go see Sade at the O2 Arena and even though we had important exams in a few days, it was really and truly a NO brainer and can I just add that the decision was well WORTH it!

The show starts at 8pm with an opening performance from a Jamaican Reggae/Ska band called The Jolly Boys - a group of veteran musicians and one helluva charismatic lead singer with a really sharp dress sense and humorous dance moves - it is such a shame that his hoarse/husky (almost baritone) vocals sometimes couldn't match his band's excellent live sound but all in all, an entertaining opening band performance including a funny cover of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and a rendition of Iggy Pop's "The Passenger".

The lights come back on briefly as the concert DJ enthrills the audience with classic Soul, R&B and Hip-Hop records while the set is prepped for Sade to take the stage and soon after 9pm, the lights go back out and after a very interesting sequence laced with captivating lightning and thunder sound effects, Sade Ade emerges from below the stage along with her 6-piece band to "Soldier Of Love". An amazing vocal performance from the elegant Soul singer accompanied by a great visual set and back-drop makes up the opening number from SADE.

"18 years we've been rehearsing for tonight... I think we're ready for you now", the singer says before she begins her second number of the night - "Your Love Is King" - to quite the very appreciative audience and with a few glorious saxophone solos by Stuart Mathewman in tow to accompany Sade Ade on this song, it feels exactly like that wait she had subjected her fans to has been all the more worthwhile. The crowd love this!

Next up on the agenda is a fierce rendition of "Skin" off of the band's Soldier Of Love album and for their fourth song, the stage lights up into a very lush 'Spring' green with a well-crafted Sade-featured visual back-drop to match as Sade and her band begin another commanding performance with especially divine saxophone and guitar solos of the very timeless "Colour Of Love".

Ms. Ade is full of energy and working the stage with well rehearsed mini-dance moves while the back-drop projections serve as added visual stimulation and an adept addition to the story behind each song and vocal performance. She strips down her performance a tad bit with a keyboard and chello-backed ballad rendition - laced with some more glorious sax solos from the audiences' listening pleasure - of a record she points out was written for someone in the audience.

Costume changes, some more great set designs with a real treat of an action-sequenced interlude ensue before her band kicks off an amazing rendition of the classic "Smooth Operator". Where Sade Adu began the night in a simple all-black top and bottom outfit, she switches into an 80's style waist coat and white shirt to fit the dramatisation of the new set (and song of course) and she continues to be on 100% top form vocally as she's been all evening. "Jezebel" is a heart-wrenching performance from Sade with excellent showings from the band - from the keyboardist, drummer to the guitarists and especially Mathewman on sax - while "Is It A Crime?" is another pitch perfect performance from the singer with great sax and lead guitar solos to accompany the performance which culminates in a standing ovation from the O2 Arena audience.

In between the next two songs - "Paradise" and "Nothing Can Come Between Us" - Sade bursting into a dance routine and shaking her behind is something I didn't think I would see. Who said this woman was boring? On the back end of "Nothing Can Come Between Us", Leroy Osbourne and Momrelle on backing vocals get the entire O2 Arena on it's feet clapping and singing along to the chorus. Sade then changes into a beautiful flowing white gown for a keyboard-led ballad rendition of "Morning Star" off of the Soldier Of Love album and goes on to give yet another powerful vocal performance. Not once has her voice been anything short of glorious all night.

"King Of Sorrow" is another highlight of the evening. It's a beautiful sight to see Sade do her waltz and her dance in her white dress in the middle of such a perfect vocal rendition. the next song immeditately gets everyone on their feet as the lead guitar and drums begin playing the instrumentals and Ms. Adu begins singing the first few lines of "Sweetest Taboo", she has everyone dancing and singing along plus the dance routines with her BVs are always winning. A reflective showing on "Moon & The Sky" and a goose bumps-inducing rendition of "Pearls" follow suit to capture Sade at her vocal and lyrical best.

"No Ordinary Love" is met with great elation from the O2 Arena audience with Sade providing an electrifying performance - from the singer to the band and those guitar solos to the fiery visual back-drop - while "By Your Side" proves to be a perfect end to one helluva concert!

After "By Your Side", Sade introduces her band to the crowd and they gracefully bow out but the audience wouldn't leave and the O2 Arena erupts into chants and stomping of feet for an encore. Sade Adu in another gorgeous outfit - this time a gloriously flowing red dress - and her band duly oblige with "Cherish the Day". What a great song!

Like I said at the beginning, this was one of my favourite concert experience in a long long time. What an enchanting experience provided by these true music legends. Such vocal, lyrical and musical dexterity for SADE as an entirety and they showed why they are really and truly in a complete league of their own!


Superbreak is the market leader for short breaks and hotels throughout the UK. Based in York, England, Superbreak specialises in booking cheap weekend breaks in 2-5 star hotel accommodation throughout Britain for the leisure traveller. Superbreak holds allocations of rooms at all hotels and can make bookings up to and on the day of departure.

With 5000 plus hotel partners in worldwide locations from London hotels to Brighton breaks, from London to Paris and with great availability and rates for theatre breaks, events at the O2 Arena, various popular attractions and national and international rail partners, Superbreak can offer an outstanding depth and breadth of UK and Overseas short break products.


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