Last night at The Ogden Theatre felt like a religious experience. It is as if everybody in the building had forgotten about all the recent negativity and lack of human compassion that has plagued us recently. For one night the venue was transformed into a mecca for those willing to celebrate life accompanied by the soundtrack of D'Angelo and The Vanguard. It was a pairing that laid witness to all sorts of races, genres, sexual orientation, and ages dancing together as if it was the last night on Earth. All individuals that were dancing and moving to the beat of the night. It was his musical showmanship backed by possibly some of the best musicians in the game today. Well noted musicians such as Pino Palladino (John Mayer Trio, The Who, Paul Simon), Jesse Johnson (The Time, Janet Jackson, Prince, Paula Abdul), Kendra Foster, and Chris Dave all lent their craftsmanship to a well orchestrated live show.
D'Angelo for many has been a rather unique artist to follow. Between 1995 and 2000 he released possibly two of the greatest albums in history. Unfortunately it wasn't until last year that we were suddenly graced with Black Messiah, a fourteen year absence since his last effort in 2000. The album was one of our favorites of last year and still continues to remain in our constant rotation today. His current tour is a no frills, two hour musical journey paying homage to everybody from James Brown to Prince. D'Angelo pulls it off to where it seems original and authentic with his own stamp on it.
I've been so moved influenced inspired captivated by D'Angelo's music for over a decade, and seeing him and his band perform was like sweet golden honey pouring into my ears and dripping into the depths of my soul. -Devon Parker (Lead Vocalist of Denver outfit Analog Son)
Just when you thought a song was finished it would continue as if we were witnessing an impromptu jam session from the band. Often thanking Colorado D'Angelo left the in between song banter at the door all while pulling off an well received ovation from the nearly sold out crowd. Opening the night with "Ain't It Easy", from Black Messiah the band played a majority of new songs mixed in with crowd favorites "Spanish Joint", and "Brown Sugar".
He left his best for last as the opening numbers of "Untitled (How Does It Feel)", rang out for what would be one of the best live versions of a song we have ever seen. Sorry ladies but he left his shirt on for this one. You can tell D'Angelo has worthy admiration for his band as each one left the stage in orderly fashion leaving him at the end behind a piano asking everybody in attendance "How Does It Feel"?
It left us mesmerized and rightfully exhausted from two hours of musical bliss.....to say the least.
-Words and Photos: Robert Castro
Setlist: Aint It Easy | Betray My Heart | Spanish Joint | Really Love | The Charade | Brown Sugar | Sugah Daddy | Encore 1: Another Life | Back To The Future | Left & Right | Chicken Greae | Encore 2: Till It's Done (Tutu) | Untitled (How Does It Feel)