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Raphael Saadiq Concert Review

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By Lorrie Irby Jackson – Dallas South News Contributor

Combining a 60’s-esque vibe and organic neo- soul with a modern cool kat swagger, former Tony Toni Tone front man Raphael Saadiq entranced and electrified a nearly-packed House of Blues in Dallas last Tuesday night.

The fashionable over-thirty crowd was treated to a performance worthy of the true-school era of R&B; a six piece band, a pair of superb background singers and, of course, Mr. Saadiq, who stood out with a crimson tux and oversized dark-rimmed glasses as he plunged  into “100 Yard Dash,” “Keep Marchin’” and “Love That Girl.”

Easily looking a decade younger than his 43 years, the suave and svelte Raphael oscillated between smooth, Smokey-like vocals and his supple, sinewy tenor as he delivered hit after hit.

Love That Girl – Raphael Saadiq

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Not content to mire himself on Memory Lane all evening, Mr. Saadiq dusted off earlier hits from the 90’s and seamlessly strolled into his solo era, kicking off an instant party with truncated versions of “Be Here,” “Dance Tonight,” “Body Parts,” “Still Ray” and “Faithful.”

Displaying his ease at dabbling in multiple genres, he infused the chorus of Q-Tip’s “We Fight We Love” with just as much attitude as the rapper would have, and then stretched out the lusty opening verse of “Let’s Take a Walk”—“This place is crowded, don’t know bout’ you, I want some sex, some sex with you”—-into a  tambourine-edged, soul-shouting gospel revival.

And if his self-assured stage presence wasn’t enough, Mr. Saadiq’s audience rapport included shaking hands, call-and-response vocals and pulling a lucky young lady named Monique from the front row to cuddle with him—horizontally—at the edge of the stage as he sang the lovestruck “Sure Hope You Mean It.”  And while he didn’t even offer a medley of Tony Toni Tone hits, the depth and quality of his own diverse catalog was enough to keep even his waaaay-back-in-the-day fans satisfied.

Anjulie, a Toronto, Canada native and his opening act, had a soft and shy demeanor that suited her breezy pop material well (“Rain,” “Boom,” a cover of Annie Lennox’ “Why”, etc.). Her sound is decidedly girly, but the fact that she migrated from Toronto to NY with little more than a guitar and a dream signals that her street game is as sharp as her voice is sweet.

Edited by Shawn Williams

Average Joe
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