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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

  • Breadfruit

    Being the ultimate Sade fan that I am, I knew I had to make the trip back home to Montreal to hear Sade sing, during the Jazz Fest for that matter, I knew I couldn’t miss it. John Legend was the openning act and to be quite honest with you I was thoroughly disappointed. I thought as the openning act Mr. Legend would have been an appropriate compliment to Sade. I found him to be cliche at times; singing from his knee’s, taking his jacket off like we were at a Vegas show, cheesy!!! I must say his back up singers were tight, acoustically and visually. Sade openned up with “Soldier of Love”. The sound of helicopters and fog lights were a prelude to her dramatic entrance. Sitting 6 rows away from the stage in seats that didn’t belong to us, my wife and I were in heaven. All those years of listening to her as a child, teenager, adult, I couldn’t believe we were in the same building together. We spent 45 minutes in the 6th row before someone came to claim their seats, but it was well worth it.

    BTW I love this site, I came across it last week. Thanks for educating the uneducated on good music!!!!!!!RESPECT

    Chad James