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by vivrant thang on raphael saadiq concert review

I’ve already given you a sneak peek of the show Raphael Saadiq put on in the DC area a couple of weeks ago in support of his third solo album, The Way I See It. I had to come back and drop an actual review and more videos. As I said before, this will easily go down as one of the top five concerts I’ve attended this year. I don’t have to remind you that I’ve been to 27 and counting.

Raphael took the stage in front of a packed house who were eagerly awaiting his arrival. I was just in from Barbados and had to go to work the next day but I was beyond hyped to finally see the sound I’ve been in love with for years live and in stereo. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Raphael, Tony Toni Tone, or Lucy Pearl in concert.

I’ll admit, my love affair with Raphael Saadiq didn’t start until the release of the second Tony Toni Tone album, The Revival in 1990 and . By then, I had acquired my little pink boom box and would let my tape rock til my tape popped. It’s virtually impossible to pick a favorite off that one. So many classics.  “Just Me and You” will probably always hold a special place in my heart because of my undying love for “Boyz in the Hood.”

Check out the live performance of “Just Me and You,” and “Ask of You” (his first solo song in 1995 for the Higher Learning soundtrack – damn I’m old). You finally learn what the correct words for the chorus really are. You know you been mumbling some mess for the past eighteen years!

Our relationship was cemented with the next two releases, Sons of Soul and House of Music. Talk about albums full of songs that were often playing on the soundtrack to my life.  I bet you remember just what was going on in your life when “Anniversary” and “It Never Rains In Southern California” were coming though your speakers in 1993. I was a senior in high school and was sure wishing some boy would “pay for the rest of my day!” Victoria sure wouldn’t be no secret! Yup, I was fast back then.

Other hits from the Tonys he performed:

I’m ashamed to admit that I was late to the party when Raphael embarked on a solo career. When he released Instant Vintage in 2002, I was fresh out of graduate school and pretty much brain dead.  When I finally got my hands on it, it was another one in constant rotation. Even today, from the time I press play, I can just let her rip. Not one single song on there I don’t like. Instant vintage indeed.

From his solo albums, he performed:

Check out what I consider one of the highlights of the evening, Skyy, Can You Feel Me.Talk about being “wide open.”

Now four years after the release of Ray Ray, which I only got my hands on in the last year or so, I was excited when I read over at SoulBounce that he was coming back with an ode to the classic soul sounds of the 60s, which I like to call the music our parents grinded to under the red lights at those basement parties. I am a huge fan of the Motown sound…done correctly.

From the first listen of “Love That Girl,” I was caught up in the rapture. I think you’ll feel the same after watching the live performance. I found his look and the choreography to be beautifully authentic. I think the Temps would vote yes.

I think the Chi-Lites might not even mind him borrowing their song title. Check out his live performance “Oh Girl.”

To my delight, he gave us a preview of a few songs from the new album I hadn’t heard before:

As you can see, we got a “top notch” performance from Raphael as well as his super talented background singers and band. He blended in old and new music perfectly. If you watch the videos, you’re surely see (and hear!) that there was never a lull in the crowd’s energy. We were mesmerized from the moment he took the stage.

I just got my hand on The Way I See It last night and am anxiously trying to make room in my schedule to really sit down and spend some time with it in anticipation of trying to bang out one of my first album reviews. I’ve heard mixed results from my Twitter fam. Feel free to speak your mind on the album and his live performance if you’ve been so lucky.

We’re fortunate to have him back in the DC area later this month to celebrate MN8’s 7th Anniversary. I’m sitting this one out unfortunately. I blame him. I’ll be thinking of him while I’m getting tipsy out at the Virginia Wine Festival.

According to his myspace calendar, he will grace Philly, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville with his presence over the next few weeks.

You should be there.

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