Mama Loves Me: A Sade Concert Review

I was an 8th grader and my 13th birthday was coming up on October the eighth. The year was 1998 and I remember my parents giving me a few good gifts (New Sega Games, a few new basketball jerseys etc etc). But they had a long box that they seemed to specifically save for last. I removed the wrapping and saw a jewelry box holding a woman’s necklace. Surprised, but not wanting to come off disappointed I said “thanks, it’s nice.” After a short pause and getting a good laugh my parents explained that the necklace was actually my mother’s and that my gift could be found hidden underneath it.  When I removed the necklace and found what lay beneath I saw three tickets to the Janet Jackson Velvet Rope Tour at MSG only two days later. I brought my mother, my cousin, a pair of binoculars and had the greatest time of my life. But I knew I had to get my mother back for surprising me like that.

Sade at the Prudential Center in Newark NJ. Wait a second. Sade is my mother’s favorite artist. Sade hasn’t performed in America since the 90′s. Could it really be? Oh man this is perfect. I’ll be home from Germany, my mom will be finished  with the school year. And being an K-8 school guidance counselor, this concert is exactly what she’ll need. Tickets go on sale, April 13th. SH*T!!! We have a game that day. What to do, what to do? Entrust my brother with the responsibility…maybe. Entrust my brother with my credit card number…don’t think so. After running out of other options I had to buckle down and tell my mom of my plan and hope she could get them (promising I’d pay her back). Her response was then, “I pre-ordered them with some ladies from work. They’re going to the show in Long Island the night before but I got tickets for the show in Newark.” Huh? There goes my mom, being one step ahead of me again. Anyway, I convinced her to take me instead of her husband. My father can’t get jiggy to Sade and therefore the date was saved. I’ve been looking forward to this for over two months and it did not disappoint.

Doors opened at 7 so naturally, we were there at 7:05pm. There was no need to rush, our seats, 17 rows from the front were secure, but the excitement, anticipation (and lack of traffic) got us down there pretty quickly. Having an hour to  chat on the drive down and another hour to chat before the start of the show, my mom began to tell me that she couldn’t remember the last concert she’d been to. She thought it was The Chi-Lites or Teddy Pendergrass until she recalled reading AK’s last concert review and realizing we saw Janet back in ’98. When we concluded no one should wait 12 1/2 years between shows, we decided Adele would be our next show together. So it was only fitting that John Legend opened up his set with Rolling In The Deep. Once he got to his songs and I got over his back up singers equestrian pants, I ended up really enjoying his performance. The live band he had absolutely killed it during I Can Change. After about seven more songs, he ended with my mom’s favorite Green Light and we were ready for Sade.

Taking almost 40 minutes to change sets, we got a chance to see how full the arena was. As well as how diverse of a fan base she has. There were the children, the adults, the Europeans, the Africans, the Black people, the White people, the Pimp$, the H0e$ etc etc. When she came out to the Soldier Of Love instrumental, the entire arena stood up and applauded. Once the beat finally dropped and she was revealed in her trademark ponytail and black turtleneck, the roars from the crowd did not cease. Two hours later, the applause was still going strong. We had seen her phenomenal band absolutely kill Jezebel. We saw her sing her heart out during Your Love Is King and Pearls. And that was all supplemented with personal addresses to her fans about how much we meant to her.

Once By Your Side was finished and the standing ovation saw her off the stage, a silence drew over the crowd. Chants of “ENCORE ENCORE” then began in the front and worked it’s way through the entire coliseum. Of course she came back out and sang my favorite song Cherish The Day and with that the night was complete. Top to bottom she was beautiful, and not beautiful in the sense of shaking her ass and showing tons of cleavage (because ladies, we all know that’s what guys consider beautiful these days), but rather beauty in the way you look at your mother. And having the chance to share this beautiful performance with my beautiful mother made it that much more special.

The only possible thing that could have made the night better was if Joell Ortiz came out to perform Soldier or if Joe Budden and performed Ordinary Love Sh*t Parts 1 & 2

Oh yeah and If you think I paid her back for those tickets…well then you must not know blackhercules ;)

Songs Performed:

Soldier Of Love
Your Love Is King
Kiss Of Life
Love Is Found
In Another Time
Smooth Operator
Bring Me Home
Is It A Crime?
Still In Love With You
All About Our Love
Nothing Can Come Between Us
Morning Bird
King Of Sorrow
The Sweetest Taboo
The Moon And The Sky
No Ordinary Love
By Your Side

Cherish The Day