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Hot 92 Jamz
Feb 28th, 2005, 12:06 PM
Concert review: Alicia Keys, John Legend

MIAMI (Hollywood Reporter) - There is certainly a lot to admire about Alicia Keys, the platinum-selling, nine-time Grammy winner who writes, plays piano and sings with startling confidence. Now headlining a big new major tour, she raises the stakes yet again -- merging the sounds of 1930s jazz and soul, classic '70s R&B and her own present-day hits into a seamless new show like none other in pop at the moment.

Yet beyond all she's doing onstage, Keys also is to be lauded for what she isn't doing. Five years in, with her popularity still very much on the rise, Keys could certainly be following an industry playbook that lately means gouging fans on ticket price, assaulting them with promotions and cheaply made souvenirs from every corner of the lobby and then rolling out an overwrought extravaganza awash in product plugs. Last year at this time, Keys found herself on just such a tour as part of a triple bill co-starring Missy Elliott and Beyonce.

Fully in command on her own, Keys makes it clear that integrity still has a place in popular music. From her elegant costumes and the simply draped stage to promising opener John Legend, everything about this multidemo evening exudes class.

Performing under a crystal chandelier surrounded by flowing white curtains, Keys welcomed fans to the second performance of her Diary Tour with a Cotton Club-style opening -- continuing the early Harlem vibe that's been part of her live performances since the beginning.

She fearlessly put her own muscular stamp on classics such as 1949's "Good Morning Heartache" (made famous by Billie Holiday) and even Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher." She also was not content to leave alone the Gladys Knight tear-jerker "If I Were Your Woman," preferring instead to make it a hip-hop directive.

Keys' own compositions run the gamut -- from such defiant hits as "If I Ain't Got You" and "A Woman's Worth" to the haunting 2001 smash "Fallin"' -- and they all were delivered with veteran polish. But what really sets her apart is not just how well she puts over all this material but also how comfortably she glides among generations. Whether she's out from behind her grand piano for a little suggestive hip-shaking or just posing center stage in a single spotlight, Keys mixes it all so deftly there are simply no boundaries.

And where to begin with the charismatic Legend, a singer-songwriter-producer who's been helping out stars such as Lauryn Hill, Kanye West and Keys and now steps out on his own?

Here, too, the performer is not content to stay exclusively in the present, drawing from Stevie Wonder, Prince, Isaac Hayes, Earth Wind & Fire and many others. Yet ultimately Legend's music, like his recent debut set "Get Lifted," emerges as uniquely his own. Most importantly, he writes genuinely melodic songs -- an aspect of music making that's missing far too often on today's riff-reliant landscape.

~Rachel~
Feb 28th, 2005, 05:41 PM
:worship:

I absolutely worship Alicia Keys, she is AMAZING :bowdown:

So jealous of those in the US right now, wish I could see her perform live!

Rocketta
Feb 28th, 2005, 10:48 PM
Wow, her concerts sound awesome! Maybe if it comes near me I check it out? ;)

Allez-H
Feb 28th, 2005, 11:16 PM
Alicia seriously RAWKS,she's awesome :worship:

Jericho
Feb 28th, 2005, 11:35 PM
March 17th baby!!!!! :bounce: :bounce: :banana: