Live: Raphael Saadiq and Anjulie at the 9:30 Club, DC
by Winston "Stone" Ford
When we look back on the career of Raphel Saadiq, we must place him among our generation’s greats. For almost 30 years, he has been pumping out amazing soul music, from Tony! Toni! Toné!, to Lucy Pearl, and from his own solo career.
On Monday, December 10th, the 9:30 Club was rocked by the sounds of Raphael Saadiq and Anjulie. The duo rolled in to DC’s venerable 9:30 club to support their solo projects, with Raphael’s The Way I See It still getting critical acclaim, and Anjulie’s debut album becoming a must listen for 2010.
First, let’s start with Anjule, who’s self-titled album is criminality slept on despite recognition by MTV and music critics across the country. The Canadian artist’s blend of pop and soul was a perfect opener for Raphael. Was the audience, steady filling up the 9:30 Club, ready for this blend? Maybe so. Running through tracks on her album, including “Boom,” “Rain,” and “Day Will Soon Come”, Anjulie and her band put on a solid performance. However, it was the song “” when the audience really got behind this budding singer. After her set, she hung out at the merch table all night, signing autographs and shaking hands with fans. She is not only stunningly beautiful, but very down to earth.
After a short break, it was time for Mr. Saadiq. Raphel’s set began with Marvin Gaye’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner blasting through the speakers, with his ultra coordinated band arriving on stage shortly after. Not only was the band dressed in matching black suits, but everybody in his crew was as well, including stage techs. It really shows his persuit to intimate detail and perfection.
As much as people say that the Motown revival is “played out,” there is something about the utter simplicity of the classic Detroit stage setup that still resonates with audiences.
And perfection it was. As much as people (such as myself) say that the Motown revival is “played out,” there is something about the utter simplicity of the classic Detroit stage setup that still resonates with audiences. No pyrotechnics or flashy stage setups here. Just music. The band, complete with full horn section, was completely on point, and for 2 hours, Saadiq and his band went through tracks from his latest (and maybe greatest) solo album, The Way I See It. What more can I say? The dude is simply good.
Raphel didn’t do an encore–the few minutes that he wasn’t on stage was more like an intermission, because after quick costume change, he was back for round 2, this time doing a medley of Tony! Toni! Toné! hits from the New Jack Swing Era. Girls went crazy over his rendition of “Lay Your Head On My Pillow,” “It Never Rains…,” “Whatever You Want,” and “It Feels Good.” You almost forget how many hits that this man has been involved with in the course of his career.
After wondering on Twitter if he would do it, the set ended with a near 20 minute rendition of my favorite Saadiq song of all time–Sky (Can You Feel Me). A perfect downtempo soul song. Even then, Raph was not ready to go, as he played two more songs after the supposed ender.
When we look back on the career of Raphel Saadiq, we must place him among our generation’s greats. For almost 30 years, he has been pumping out amazing soul music, from Tony! Toni! Toné!, to Lucy Pearl, and from his own solo career. His show on Monday night left me almost speechless. I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to see him in action. If he comes to your town. GO. Nuff said.