Some would say that it's way too early in his career to call singer-songwriter John Legend a “legend,” despite the fact his name seemingly demands. But on September 27, the singer managed to make his Friday night performance an intimate experience for the thousands of adoring Pinoy fans in attendance, proving that he is living up to his esteemed title.
It was a night for lovin’ – not dancin’ – in a tour Legend himself has billed as “intimate, raw and unplugged.”
The crowd's energy surged as it saw the Grammy-winning artist slowly walk over to the center of his stage, where his piano awaited, one guitarist and a string quartet composed of cello, viola and two violins surrounded him as dimly lit lights were scattered around the stage and bright white lights centered on him. Legend effortlessly lived up to everyone's expectations, looking sharp in a nicely tailored suit as he sat at their beginning the show with, "Made to Love."
"It's good to be back in Manila," Legend said to a beaming crowd. "It's been five years."
John Legend knows how to keep his audience thrilled, rather than making his fans feel like they attended a piano recital. He certainly gave his fans an experience they will never forget.
His voice was powerful, passionate, strong, sexy and smooth. His stage presence are relaxed yet entirely captivating, never seeming to strain himself too much.
Legend talked about his early days, playing at 5:30 on Friday afternoons at The Living Room in Manhattan for four people; how he played with Kanye West, Usher and Alicia Keys. And even his corporate life in Boston. John is one fine story teller.
He also took a few moments to explain his grandmother's middle name is Maxine and she was so excited to hear he used her name in a song. "I guess she didn't listen closely to the lyrics," he laughed. "Maxine," after all, is about him confronting a girlfriend he finds out is cheating on him.
Other highlights included a subdued "Save Room," with Legend accompanied only by guitar, a "You and I" that started with just Legend and a finger-picked acoustic and took on layers as it swelled into a fully-realized, full-band treatment. Everyone loved his rendition of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You," despite not being a dancer he was able to put on an incredible show. He also brought in a neo-soul feel to the classic rock tune, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which Legend said he learned to play from his grandmother, who taught him to play piano.
But it was a moment during the song “Ordinary People” that truly encompassed the personality of the show. Legend sang in the chorus: “We’re just ordinary people, we don’t know which way to go ‘cause we’re ordinary people, maybe we should take it slow.” As expected, everyone sang along to the track.
For the night’s encore, Legend returned to the stage solo for a stripped-down version of the smash hit “All of Me.” As he sat singing at his piano, the performer was unaware that his ultra-romantic set had resulted in a proposal near the front of the stage.
Congratulations on a very successful show here in Manila, John Legend!
1. Made to Love
3. Let's Get Lifted
4. Used 2 Love U
5. Let's Do It Again / Number 1
6. Save The Night
10. The Beginning
11. Save Room
12. Green Light
13. Rock With You
14. Who Do We Think We Are
15. Bridge Over Troubled Water
16. You & I
17. Caught Up
18. Ordinary People
19. So High
20. All Of Me
To see more photos from the concert, click HERE
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