While scanning the area concert lineup a few months ago, the only one that caught my eye was at Philadelphia’s Dell East with Gregory Porter, Ledisi, and Anthony Hamilton. My favorite music is new music and most of the acts on tour I have no desire to see again, but there’s a select few I’ll see every time in town, Ledisi being one of them.
I’ve seen Anthony Hamilton open for Jill Scott a few years ago and he was good, but I enjoy his recordings much better. I was interested to see how Gregory Porter performed live. As for Ledisi, I could watch her perform ad nauseum.
The standing room only show opened with Porter, who came out performing ‘Holding On,’ one of his popular songs. Being relatively new to the commercial music scene, he may only have 2 or 3 songs familiar to the masses, but every song he sung last night showed off his amazing baritone. The lady next to me asked who he was and the guy behind me tried to answer his date’s question on what musical style Porter performs. To me, he’s an old school soul singer delivering it with jazz, blues, and gospel styling. His all-acoustic band was the best of the night with a real piano, upright bass, drums, and an incredible sax.
Skipping to the headliner, Anthony Hamilton…well, I kinda skipped out on him. Like Porter, Hamilton brings an old school soul vocal but leans toward a R&B and blues styling. He has a lot of fan favorite hits to his credit. His voice didn’t pop nearly as well as Porter’s and his band was heavy on the synths. But his 3 male background singers may be the best I’ve every heard. I may have stuck around for a song or two more than I wanted to just to hear them. For me, I’m sticking to Anthony Hamilton recordings which are wonderful.
And then there’s Ledisi who I consider the best female vocalist out there, but Chester’s own Avery Sunshine is a 1B to Ledisi’s 1A. I used to lump Chrisette Michelle in that mix before her meltdown after the Trump inauguration performance. Mary J. Blige may be the best female performer thanks to her incredible number of hit songs, and Beyonce has channeled the best of Diana Ross and Tina Turner into a musical phenomenon. But when it comes to pure singing, Ledisi does it for me. Alicia Keys is on my bucket list but she hardly ever leaves the house.
Ledisi came out with a few unfamiliar songs as if she’s trying some things out for a new release and they were all well received. Toward the end she did her familiar stuff and did a long form of ‘Women’ to encourage and empower the women in the crowd. Right about midway through her set she jumped into an island beat and sang a song about Baltimore and gun violence. That one ripped right through the heart and soul of the crowd. That was the song of the night!
Now that I have my Ledisi fill, I’m good on the music front. If I get out again anytime soon, I’ll let you know.
If you’re a podcast person and want to listen to what I like to listen to, you can check out about 40 of my music playlists on most of your podcast apps. It’s named ‘Beautiful Black Music’ and feature the shows I did for Chester’s internet radio broadcast, Best Core Radio. New episodes will continue again soon to the podcast (without the Best Core Radio tags).