Concert review: John Legend and India.Arie at Merriweather last night

Sun writer John-John Williams IV was at Merriweather last night to see John Legend and India.Arie. Here are his thoughts:

Let’s be honest for a second: Modern day R&B singers are basically garbage. They lack the soul and vocal skills that popularized the genre.

These days, we have 'artists" who have abandoned their roots in favor of synthesized, auto-tuned studio sounds that have been poorly plated with trite lyrics and spaghetti thin vocals.

Thank God for John Legend (pictured) and India.Arie who brought down the house last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The two have a crisp, classic, yet modern sound. And they know how to entertain a crowd.

Legend, a multi-Grammy award winner in his own right, can loosen inhibitions better than a bottle of booze. Couples most definitely sealed the deal after hearing Legend perform last night. ...

Unlike Arie, whose focus was more of an inspirational, Legend delivered one hot, steamy sexual ballad after another. There was no need to gyrate on stage, or flash a lot of skin. And unlike crooners such as R. Kelly, Legend brought an unmatched sophistication to his ballads.

Legend also moved with more confidence than I've seen him do in the past. With "Satisfaction," he ripped off his dark sunglasses and focused his eyes on his cheering fans. He pulled back some of the swagger when he sang "It’s Over" off of his 2008 album Evolver and "Heaven" from his 2006 album Once Again. He also delivered a memorable performance with "Good Morning," which he sang as a duet with Arie. The pair really played off one another, and together, had the confidence of a couple in a long-term relationship.

Legend’s hit "Green Light" off of his album Evolver was essentially the climax of the show. Legend had crowd members out of their seats, keeping step with the energetic beat of the song. He got the crowd in the mood for romance without shoveling out a series of tawdry lyrics. It was the perfect how to for a genre that has gone flat.

Arie was a treat as an opening act. The multi Grammy award winning songstress just makes you feel good inside. Her lyrics are upbeat, positive and empowering. You also can't help but feel proud when she struts on stage with her white head wrap, sparkling beaded bracelets, gold hoop earrings, and Afro-centric purple dress with green strip and fuchsia trim.

She wowed the crowd with her powerful vocals the belted out familiar hits such as "There’s Hope" from her 2006 album Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship and "Brown Skin" from her 2001 album Acoustic Soul.

(Photo by Vincent Peters)

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