The evening of Saturday, July 9th was a busy night in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians were in town at Progressive Field, ultimately losing to the Blue Jays. But next door at the Quicken Loans Arena, Sade and John Legend hit the ball out of the park. The night was filled with unbelievable music, world-class performance, and tantalizing visual presentation.
The evening began with John Legend spinning his sexy, soulful tunes to a crowd eager to indulge. His full hour set was filled with crowd favorites, starting the fire that would blaze through The Q for the rest of the night. As the crowd joined in on Ordinary People, from his debut album Get Lifted, and the voices filled the air he expressed his appreciation, “You sound beautiful, Cleveland!”
After a 30-45min intermission between acts, the audience anticipation was met with satisfaction. Sade emerged from the ground, in silhouette, as she began her performance with the powerful Soldier of Love off her latest album of the same name. As the night continued, Sade mixed the soft and sensual with her powerhouse of strength as she presented hits that spanned the entirety of her long career. She represented her beginnings and took the audience through her own journey as a musician; including songs such as Smooth Operator, Your Love is King, Is it a Crime, Pearls, and King of Sorrow. She ended the performance with an epic encore of Cherish the Day; dressed in a striking Asian-inspired red dress, she stood atop a platform that raised her higher and higher above the stage as she wove her sultry vocals through the crowd and echoed the waves of the music with her hips.
Sade performed for more than two hours and created a full sensory experience that stretched beyond the musical performance. The visual production on stage was as striking as the music. The stage was left in a minimalist style but deeply complimented through the use of video; both on a screen behind the band as well as a scrim that at various times dropped around the stage creating a translucent screen on which images were projected. With each new song the stage was transformed; three riser enabled the band to be raised and lowered to varying heights, as well as be dropped down to leave the stage entirely, with each song a new use of video was introduced, and Sade herself donned four different outfits throughout the performance. Every person and image on stage worked together to create a cohesive and powerful performance that could only be expected from an artist as lasting and renowned as Sade on her first tour in ten years.