I ask myself sometimes “why did I move to Harlem and make this area my home?” I generally answer myself back (or tell those that will listen to me) I came here because there are so many interesting things to do in Harlem. One thing in particular is going to see a show at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater. Last night, I did just that by going to the Apollo to watch John Legend perform to a sold out crowd. It was amazing-to say the least. Why? Well, for me John Legend is like the male version of Alicia Keys. This guy can sing and jam on the piano just like her. Need I say more. As for the Apollo, if you want to see a performer up close and personal this is the venue for you. The acoustics are crystal clear, there is not a bad seat in the house and everyone one, from the first level to the balcony, will stand up and dance in every section. (Don’t go to the Apollo if you want to sit down and watch a show.) At this place, dancing in the aisle is a prerequisite.
As for the music, John Legend performed practically all of his hits and they were all good. I will leave it at that and not go into the set list other than saying I completely enjoyed his performance. I will leave critiquing of the set list to the critics. What I will tell you about is all the little interesting things that happened throughout the concert. Below is a few insider highlights:
- John Legend entered and left the room from the stage left aisle. This is the first time I have seen him perform so I guess he enters the room walking through the crowd?
- He said the word “Harlem” or “its good to be in Harlem” about 25 times. The place went nuts every time he uttered those words. I know I did since I live here.
- He bumped and grind with a gorgeous lady in a purple dress. It looked like the lady was a fan from the audience and he chose her randomly. They were getting down.
- John Legend told the crowd he prefers the Apollo over Radio City Music Hall. Apparently he just performed at Radio City and felt compelled to tell the audience where feels most comfortable or shall we say at home. Who can blame him?
- He told the audience he recently turned the big 30 and that his favorite phrase right now is “back in the day,” which is the early nineties for him. Sickning…
- John Legend said he normally sees couples in the crowd and that he feels used..but in a good way.
- He said he went to the University of Penn.
- John Legend gave a shout out at the end of the show to former congressman Harold Ford, Jr., who had already left the show then. Bad, bad, bad form on Harold Ford, Jr.’s part. How did I know this happened? I was sitting right by the congressman and his lovely wife.
- John Legend lived in NYC for about nine years before he got a record deal.
- He knows NYC well. Prior to making it big, he told the crowd he’s performed at The Bitter End, Joe’s Pub, Sounds of Brazil (aka SOBs) and Jimmy’s Uptown.
- The Abyssinian Baptist Church choir sang If you’re out there? with John Legend.
- And last, but certainly not least, he asked everyone to pitch in and help end global poverty by getting involved at The Show Me Campaign. Sign me up!