It was only the second date of his long-awaited comeback tour but somehow, after a nearly 15 year hiatus, D’Angelo seemed more at home on stage than ever before. The eager audience piled in right when the doors opened at 8:00pm. From hopeful Dads-on-dates to LA’s resident beat king Djemba Djemba – everybody was at Club Nokia for the main event. I even saw Rob Pattinson there (and totally played it cool like I didn’t even care that he was standing next to me because obviously I don’t care at all…).
Bottom line: this concert was the place to be.
What would he be like on stage? Word on the street is that D’Angelo suffers from crippling stage fright…would he crack under pressure? In an instant, all doubts were squashed. Accompanied by a wall of sound from his excellent band, The Vanguard, our main man swaggered on stage with a fedora, a trench coat and the most blinged-out guitar you have ever seen. Beginning with the heart-thumpin’ “Aint That Easy”, D’Angelo proceeded to take the packed Club Nokia to church, one soul-stirring track at a time. His Pentecostal upbringing is clear in the way he physicalizes the music while performing. Suddenly, the name The Second Coming Tour seems less self-congratulatory and more matter-of-factual.
It was sexy, it was jazzy, but most of all–it was meticulous. There was so much precision and balance in this performance – from the exquisitely talented group of musicians that comprise The Vanguard, to their visionary conductor himself. He touched on every song from 2014’s flaw-free Black Messiah – often extended, jammier versions than the record provided — as well as the hit that put him on the map, “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)”.
Leaving the venue, I was in awe. With The Vanguard by his side, it would appear that D’Angelo is finally ready to step back into his God-given role as one of the greatest living R&B legends.
Ain’t That Easy
Betray My Heart
Back To The Future
Left & Right
Till It’s Done (Tutu)
Untitled (How Does It Feel)