I already had my ticket booked to go home for a week when I found out that my favorite artist of all time was playing not more than 5 minutes from my house at the Concord Pavilion (they call it Sleeptrain now, but whatever). I called my mom and she agreed that this would be a perfect family outing for Dad’s birthday, so I quickly booked 6 tickets as soon as they went on-sale. Fortunately, I was quick because both shows in the Bay Area ended up being sold-out within an hour. It’s been 12 years since his Oakland, CA show so people were hungry.
We weren’t disappointed.
Appropriately titled, “A Wonder Summer’s Night”, Stevie started off the show walking on-stage with his daughter, Aisha, to the crowd of 12,000 (myself included), roaring. He introduced his daughter, explained that the tour was dedicated to his mohter who died last year, and started off with “Love’s In Need”. That song led to an over 2 hour performance of hits spanning 1969 (My Cherie Amour) to 1984 (Part-time Lover, I Just Called..). He did also Say What the Fuss from his latest LP, but the majority of the evening was spent on giving the crowd the songs they’re most familiar with backed by an 11-piece band and 3 backup singers.
He also showed that all the years touring haven’t worn him out. He had great command of his band as it seemed he was ad-libbing quite a bit during the show. And at one point even jumped on a piano stool to sing to the crowd, without any aid. The consummate prankster – Stevie was cracking jokes on-stage and telling stories as if we’d known him personally for years.
It is an evening that will be etched in my memory and one that cannot possibly be compared to other artists. He is afterall, Stevie Wonder.