Those who attended John Legend’s Friday concert at Ovens Auditorium may have been disappointed to find that the man behind the piano didn’t seem much like performing.
Or maybe they were pleasantly surprised to see he’d been replaced by an energetic musician whose goal was to keep the Queen City on its feet for nearly 100 minutes.
Legend packed the show with flashing lights and booming bass, and preferred standing and dancing to just tickling the ivories.
And like his newest album, “Evolver,” he has evolved beyond simply crooning about love and loss. Legend opened his 24-song set with a video of himself in a boxing ring — gloves and robe — preparing for a fight.
And like a flash, Legend-in-the-flesh ran through the audience to sing his first hit “Used to Love U.”
Legend, born John Stephens, definitely kept the crowd on its feet with up-tempo tracks such as “Alright,” “Stereo” and “Get Lifted.” More than halfway through the set, he entertained the crowd with “Slow Dance” — yeah, the same ditty from the Target commercial — and lost the leather jacket he donned as he danced with a woman from the audience.
At times, renditions of his hits were truncated (in favor of treating fans to old-school classics: Zapp’s “Computer Love” and Prince’s “Adore”), while various music videos and graphics were displayed on screen behind the soul star, which, at times, could be distracting.
But if you think he sacrificed the thing that truly makes him John the Legend, his fans saw glimpses of the piano man on beautiful, pure ballads “Another Again” and “Stay With You.”
And he made a full-on reappearance at the close of the show. The crooner got back to basics in a tuxedo and performed his signature “Ordinary People” and “If You’re Out There,” the hope anthem he debuted at the Democratic National Convention.
Even with the evolution of Legend’s sound and show, he still clings to what makes him great.
“Used to Love U”
“Let’s Get Lifted”
“She Don’t Have to Know”
“No Other Love”
“P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care)”
“Stay With You”
“I Can Change”
“This Time/ Adore/ So High”
“If You’re Out There”legend