Last Night: John Legend At Nokia Theatre

John Legend
Nokia Live
January 22, 2009

Better than: Letting the bartender mix your cocktail with Pepsi products.

Having learned a hard lesson in traffic jams the last time I went to Grand Prairie's Nokia Theatre, I took MacArthur to the venue, to discover the streets were flowing free and clear.

I knew the price tag on John Legend's show was a tad steep, but this guy has the cross-cultural appeal of Beyonce--and women love him. So where the heck were the mobs?

By the time I showed up at the will call window, I discovered why people were taking their time to arrive. No Estelle.

I was so infuriated that I don't even remember the name of the dude who was opening the show. I couldn't get past the thought of "no Estelle." How the crap were we supposed to enjoy "No Other Love" in its full splendor?


As it slowly drifted past 9 p.m., the lights went down and a black and white scene of Legend boxing an imaginary foe lit up the LED screen. The sight of his svelte-yet-athletic, shirtless body sent the ladies at the venue into a screaming fit--which was only eclipsed when he strode coolly to the stage, entering from the rear of the theater.

My first thought: Wow, he's little. The room was instantly on its feet as he opened with "Used to Love U." We stayed standing and singing along for almost four songs before things mellowed out for "Quickly".

Ironic, huh?

By the time he wrapped "She Don't Have to Know", I'd come to the conclusion that the majority of male R&B singers don't miss their notes. Seriously: Even Alicia Keys has given me pause at times. Legend's vocal performance, though? Even the riffs and drawn out notes were studio-quality.

And though he isn't a spectacular showman, Legend is entertaining to watch with his two-stepping and croon-face-making. He made sure he kept up the eye-candy quotient with his backup singers: two gorgeous ladies and a ball-cap wearing fellow I'd like to meet in a dark bar. He officially closed the show with "Green Light," standing atop his piano.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
As far as looks go, John Legend almost exactly fits what friends describe as "my type" of guy.

Random Note: The girl he brought onstage to dance with him during "Slow Dance" was off-beat, dancing too fast. But I might've just been jealous.

By the way: The Potter's House choir joined him onstage for the last song of his encore.

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