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Monday, June 8, 2015

D'Angelo Comes Back to Life in Oakland

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 9:19 AM

click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli
I'm not sure if I've ever anticipated a show this much before. It's been 15 years since D'Angelo's last US headlining tour, and I've waited and waited, being teased along the way with cancellations, rumors, dead ends... "D'Angelo playing a show!" became an urban legend. It got to the point where people just kind of laughed when a D'Angelo show was announced, because you knew it wasn't happening. But last night was different. Because last night actually did happen, and many of us in the crowd have waited half our lives or more for a chance to see D'Angelo come back to life.


From the moment D'Angelo and his incredible band, The Vanguard, opened the evening with Black Messiah's "Ain't That Easy," he had the crowd wrapped around his finger. Clad in an open cross-cut trench coat over his black tank top, D'Angelo came out playing his ornery guitar into new songs like "Betray My Heart" and "Really Love."  

The trench coat came off and there he stood in a black tank top, with a considerably fuller figure than the late-'90s sexual icon with the most talked about abs in America. The tribulations of the past 15 years leading up to this moment were evident in his body and in his voice, in the most beautiful and human way possible. The emotions of everything D'Angelo had been through to get to this moment; drugs, depression, exile, one of the most tragic disappearing acts in music history, coursed through everyone in the crowd in this, his triumphant return to the limelight. 

click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

And he was brilliant. His voice was perfect. He didn't miss a single "ooh, ahh." He challenged his vocal range and nailed every note, every time. "Brown Sugar" came early and the crowd sang along; I hadn't partied at a show like this in years. D'Angelo went through what felt like a half dozen costume changes, but it was the evening's final look that took the cake. With his hat tilted across half his face, one side dark and one side light. Perfectly depicting the "one foot out the door and the other one god knows where" look that his life has been for the last decade and a half. He masterfully toyed with the crowd across two encore sets and on the night's closing track, "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," as each of the 11 people on stage left one by one, taking their musical element with them, until all that was left was D'Angelo on the piano, singing. 

Sunday night at the Fox Theater was a reminder of why we listen to music. To remember everything that's happened to us when it was playing (and in this case, when it stopped playing for a decade and a half). I've never had a moment where so many damn memories of love and life came rushing over me at one time.

D'Angelo. The man who might as well have changed the game of love with his incomparable style. With how mysterious he is and how long he evaded us. Like that perfect act of love that you can't quite harness. 

And it was like he never left. 

click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli


click image ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

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About The Author

Adrian Spinelli

Adrian Spinelli

Bio:
Hip hop and sandwiches.

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