Saturday, July 04, 2009

Stevie Wonder: Live at Last

BBC iPlayer

Broadcast on:BBC HD, 11:40pm Friday 3rd July 2009 Duration: 60 minutes Available until: 12:34am Saturday 11th July 2009

"Recorded during a two-night residency at the O2 Arena in London, Live at Last represents a rare occasion to experience all the funky energy of a Stevie Wonder concert. A pioneer in modern R&B, the American pianist, songwriter and tremendous performer comes back in top form after having spent ten years away from the spotlight. ... An electrifying journey into Wonder's long and successful career, Live at Last includes all his classic hits such as My Cherie Amour, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Superstition, Higher Ground, Living for the City, You are the Sunshine of My Life, I Wish and Isn't She Lovely, performed with his daughter Aisha Morris. All in all an unforgettable spectacle."

You won't want to miss this, particularly if you're into funky jazz fusions (or whatever this is called). Pure virtuosity and joie de vivre.

Watching and posting

The opening harmonica instrumental is lovely and subtle in the way it builds and blossoms and ends with a feat of virtuosity (needless to say).

The third track is a very soulful reworking of "Lately" - obviously heartfelt, especially when he uses his own name in a variation to the lyrics.

He's starting some communal singing for the next song, My Cherie Amour. Maybe I might update this post again later.

The audience are having a ball. Dancing, kissing...loving the music.

Excellent: Signed, Sealed, Delivered - hot from the Obama campaign revival. I like his singing in this concert - seems better than ever. How can one person write this stuff, be such a virtuoso and entertainer. Michael Jackson was something special but nobody can rival Mr Wonder himself.

At about 35 minutes in: Gorgeous "You are the sunshine of my life". The singers are perfect and full of joy. Now it's on to "I just called to say I love you", with a few ad-libs.

The whole time I'm watching this, I get the feeling that this is our present day Mozart, and just so wish we could bring Mozart back to life and hear what he would make of Motown and all that. Same thing with Shakespeare and present day writers. Pity - but maybe it will come to pass through time travel if ever that is enabled. (I know you may say that these people have lived their lives and "it didn't happen" but I'm telling you: they will live again! Hallelujah. ;-)

"Superstition" - just noticing the band is more like a small orchestra, with a rhythm section consisting of two separate drummers with drum kits as well as a percussionist on congas and other things. "Superstition" morphs into a medley with "What the fuss?" Brilliant.

45 minutes, band call out. Two percussionists and a drummer. 5 singers. Etc. I can't give you the names. (One I can, Aisha - his daughter, as mentioned in "Isn't she lovely".) He's going to end on "As" and he has an interesting speech near the end, all about love and his late mother. Sounds odd when I write it like that, but he's all heart, has a natural way about him and makes a great exit.


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