So I went to John Legend at the Northrop a Single Guy…


A single guy in his late 20s usually doesn’t decide to go see a live concert alone. He especially doesn’t do so when the concert includes the talent of R&B singers like Gallant and John Legend. But, then again who would ever say no to seeing John Legend live? Not I. Leading into the show Wednesday night I had no doubts about the talent of John so the real question was whether the sound which we all know and love would be as solid in person as the studio. After sitting in the midst of swooning fans and a couple hundred iPhones capturing his every move I can tell you he’s as good live as you’d hope. 

The focus of the night was on John, but opening things up, and showing why he is a force of of his own was Gallant. I fully admit my ignorance on Gallant’s music before this show. An admittance I am sad to make, having now heard what the man can do. Though I feel as a new comer to his music it made his performance all the more entertaining. Gallant has incredible energy through his whole set and doesn’t waver despite jumping, spinning, and pacing back and forth across stage. Even while drinking water the man continues to slide stage right to stage left and belt out the high notes. Speaking of high notes, I envy this man and his pipes. I will be first to admit I have always been jealous of the voices guys like Michael Buble and other rat pack style singers have. But Gallant, much like the headliner of the night, smoothly transitions from his comfort range into high notes I don’t hear or see often live. A good song to check out to get an idea of his range would definitely be Bone and Tissue. Just don’t have your headphones or stereo cranked for that one, the man can hit those high notes.

Song Picks for John Legend: Ordinary People, Like I’m Gonna Lose You, Love Me Now

Gallant: Weight in Gold, Bone + Tissue, Bourbon fet Saba and Lophille

30 minutes later, a sold out crowd on the edge of their sits around me and enters John with a silky smooth entrance song on a full grand piano center stage. I saw La La Land, I get it, John can sing and even act. The cynical part of me watched with the worry of maybe this is all a facade and I’ll be looking to the exits in another 20 minutes. A large sigh of relief when 45 minutes later I was still listening to John tear through his new album tracks and I realized, I have no idea what he is even saying right now. Frankly, I didn’t even care. Because truth be told R&B doesn’t require you to even hear the words so much as you need to hear the notes and the soul of the songs. At some point during the chorus of John’s solo rendition of Like I’m Gonna Lose You, sorry Meghan he does it better, I found myself finally in the zone. For those who don’t know what the zone is or don’t have a name for it. It’s that point in a show where the crowd has settled in, the artist is into the groove with their set, and everyone has finished taking photos and is now fully attentive on the present. We’ll ignore the sea of phones the front rows held over their head for 20 minutes last night, after John himself made a polite speech on people being too involved with their technology and not the moment. 

After running through a set of tracks from his latest album and shedding the piano for some sensual dancing John hit some older tracks, aka the ones we lesser fans know. Hearing So High and All of Me live for the first time was oddly nostalgic. As I have said John Legend is an artist I have not been as dedicated to through his career. But he is one that when certain songs come on just about anyone including myself can say “Oh wow, haven’t heard this in a while. Loved this song”. Which to me is a testament to John’s longevity in his craft. Over a dozen albums, multiple movie appearances, collaborative works with some of the most talented artists around, and John still grins ear to ear like a kid while performing on stage. As someone who went in with doubts and a lack of knowledge on John’s music beyond the billboard hits I left pleased. Vocals on point and no song selections that made me feel confused, though some strange visuals behind stage at times, I enjoyed the whole night. Gallant and John Legend are worth seeing if even just once, hopefully next time in town will be somewhere bigger because I know he could fill it.