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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Moment of Truth: D'Angelo Comes to Oakland

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 12:24 PM

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D'Angelo opens the much anticipated Black Messiah tour this Sunday at the Fox Theater in Oakland. This marks D'Angelo's first headlining U.S. tour since the Voodoo World Tour back in 2000. And if you've been following along with his tumultuous career arc, the last 14 years have been building to this moment on Sunday, right here in our backyard. 

14 years... I'll admit, it was incredibly hard for me to come to terms with how long the wait was from one album to the next. The man put out the sexiest album in the world and quickly became an icon, but the road after that was bumpy. D'Angelo was in and out of rehab for years, went into self-imposed exile for a while and continuously stunted efforts to release the follow-up album to Voodoo. His live appearances became proverbial unicorns and he notably cancelled his Outside Lands Festival appearance in 2013 due to an undisclosed illness. The last time D'Angelo actually showed up and played the Bay Area was in April of 2000 at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. 

This past December, Black Messiah finally dropped. It was strange timing, essentially eliminating it from contention on year end Best Of lists, but D'Angelo dropped the album with a message inside the liner notes. It's a message founded in politics, love, hip-hop, hope and honesty:

“Black Messiah is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah. ◆

It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.”

D'Angelo dropped this album when we needed it most and the above message echoes the message of the album's songs. It holds a resonant concept for Oakland. Where the city has experienced similar civic strife to cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, etc.. It calls for a higher consciousness and awareness from everybody. Sunday, he'll be bringing it to life at The Fox, with his band, The Vanguard, which features the likes of bassist Pino Palladino of The Who and vocalist Kendra Foster, who wrote much of the music on Black Messiah alongside D'Angelo. And the notes are sure to resonate throughout the Bay.

D'Angelo at The Fox Theater
1807 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
7:30 pm

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About The Author

Adrian Spinelli

Adrian Spinelli

Hip hop and sandwiches.


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