LIVE: Sade, Bell Centre, Montreal Jazz Festival
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Sade knows how to please a crowd.
After what seemed an eternity, the beautiful UK singer is back on the touring circuit again. Thankfully, the Canadian leg of her tour brought her through Montreal’s Bell Centre right in the middle of Jazz Fest.
One would think that after releasing a major album last year Ms. Adu would be adamant about getting us to love her new material. But let’s face it, Soldier of Love is not her best album. Sure, as fans we bought it, but was it on constant repeat? Did we cherish it like Love Deluxe or Diamond Life? Probably not.
Sade knows this. We want to hear the hits. If you were a fan of,let’s say her 2010 single “Babyfather” you’re out of luck. After starting with her lead single “Soldier of love,” the next two and a half hours was a nostalgic journey to the past. And why wouldn’t it be? We want to relive the time when we first heard “Smooth Operator” on the radio. We made babies or were probably made during “Kiss o Life.” Hence her concert was more in support of her greatest hits package The Ultimate Collection than anything, and as a fan, I have no complaints.
As for the show itself? It is what it is. Her band (whom she has toured with for over 15 years) sticks to the script. If you’re looking for booming guitar solos look elsewhere. The band were more focused on beautifully recreating the studio sound in an arena setting–not an easy feat at all. The stage setup complimented the act as well, as her band members would disappear under the stage if not needed, and during songs like “Jezebel,” a screen would pull up on stage creating an atmospheric effect.
But stage theatics aside, we all know that Sade could be singing with all the lights on and she would still command a crowd. Maybe it’s her reclusive personality, her striking beauty, or her poignant songs? Who knows. But let me say this–after almost 30 years she’s still got it. Her songs still sound as fresh as the first time you took the plastic off the CD wrapper. She transcends race, class, and genre. In some ways she’s the ultimate pop star.
I have to admit, I was supposed to be a part of the “International Media” covering this event, but I was more a fan than anything. I’ve been one since I was 6 years old, I remember when my late mother (RIP) let me put Sade’s “Stronger Than Pride” on constant repeat when I was riding along in the Family minivan. So this was less a concert and more of an experience.
I say this all the time, but if Sade comes to your town, go. That’s all I have to say.