Let’s lay it right out there on the line.
On Tuesday night at the Palace Theatre, smoldering soul sensation Maxwell delivered the best concert that I’ve seen this year.
It was sharp. It was smart. And it was oh-so steamy.
A few additional thoughts about the show:
Where were you? Or for that matter, where was anybody? Maxwell’s “BLACKsummers’night” is the No. 1 album in the country, and the Palace Theatre was only half-full – at best? What’s that all about?
It’s all too rare that a major soul music tour makes a stop here in Nippertown, so you’d think that the fans would come out in droves to show their support. But what happens? Two major soul shows are booked into the Palace in the same week, and fans are forced to choose between Maxwell and John Legend (who played to a theater that was only two-thirds full on Saturday night).
Which means that the next time a promoter is thinking about bringing a soul show to town, he’ll check past attendance figures and see that the last two soul shows at the Palace didn’t do big business, and he’ll have second thoughts about bringing the show to town.
OK, enough complaining…
Let’s hear it for the band! Maxwell certainly wasn’t skimping on the musical talent for this show. It was a sprawling 11-piece band led by Motown guitar great Wah-Wah Watson and jazz keyboardist Robert Glasper. (Glasper, by the way, has an intriguing new album in the pipeline for release on Blue Note Records next month. It’s called “Double-Booked,” and half of the album features the acoustic jazz of the Robert Glasper Trio, while the second half spotlights the electric hip-hop of the Robert Glasper Experiment.)
Quote of note: After his soaring falsetto spin through “Pretty Wings,” the gaggle of swooning, screaming female fans just couldn’t calm down. “This didn’t happen to me in high school,” Maxwell revealed. “So what you’ve got to do is go out and get yourself a record deal.” Just then a pair of panties came flying up onto the stage from the audience. “And this definitely didn’t happen in high school.”
Opening act Chrisette Michele has an astonishing voice. Unfortunatley, it was all but buried underneath a muddy, bottom-heavy sound mix. Too bad. She deserved better.
MAXWELL SET LIST
Get to Know Ya
Everwanting: To Want You to Want
This Woman’s Work
Was My Girl
Til the Cops Come Knockin’
Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)