This past April, when Gregory Porter headlined the Royal Albert Hall, the London Telegraph’s Ivan Hewett perfectly captured the vocalist’s singular majesty as the “combination of that massively authoritative voice and the touchingly confessional nature of his songs that has proved irresistible.” Six weeks later, Porter arrived at the Philharmonie Berlin, a venue that, in an interview included in this triple-disc CD/DVD set, he ranks as high as Albert and Carnegie halls, likening its pentagonal, stage-encircling configuration to the intimacy of a church.
The cornerstone of the set is the DVD, capturing Porter’s May 18 concert in its entirety and stretching to just under two hours, including elucidating cut-ins in which he explains the geneses of various compositions. (The two CDs also feature the full 16-song show.) The fan-friendly set list covers all four of Porter’s albums, with greatest focus on his latest, Take Me to the Alley. Supporting Porter are three longstanding bandmates—pianist Chip Crawford, saxophonist Tivon Pennicott and drummer Emanuel Harrold—plus one newcomer, bassist Jahmal Nichols, all integral to an utterly captivating evening.