On Sunday, June 19, 2011, the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA was packed with fans “dressed to the nines” and cheering the moment the lights went down as they prepared to enjoy the smooth sounds of Sade after a 10 year hiatus. Sade was confident, gracious and poised as she stepped out on stage in her signature black outfit, sleek low ponytail, bold red lips, and silver hoop earrings. She started her set with “Soldier of Love,” the title track from her 2010 album. Fans stayed on their feet, as Sade’s moved fluidly across the stage singing with a voice that has not aged a day.
Her repertoire of songs included selections from Soldier of Love as well as many classics including “Is It a Crime,” “Paradise,” “Stronger than Pride,” “Sweetest Taboo,” “No Ordinary Love,” “Cherish The Day” and “Jezebel.” Her band played fierce keyboard, guitar and alto sax solos that fittingly accompanying Sade’s fabulous voice. The intricate stage setting for each song was eye candy for the audience.
During “All About Our Love,” the audience was treated to a video of the band’s tight relationship while touring over the years. Her haunting performance of “Pearls,” about an impoverished Somali woman, was very moving, as she sang alone on stage with the sun then the moon in the background. City nightlife scenes surrounded Sade and band on “Smooth Operator.” During her performance of “Morning Bird,” a cream-colored gauze screen surrounded Sade. Later, the screen was pulled away revealing Sade in a sexy sequined white gown with peek-a-boo red lace as she broke into “King of Sorrow.”
Sade’s triumphant return to Philadelphia, after more than decade was certainly entertaining, exciting and invigorating. She performed for more than two and half hours giving the audience a performance that will last in our memories for quite some time. Sade has stayed true to herself and her music. I admire her for being a soulful artist with beauty, style and grace!
All photos are by Ben Johnson.