Waiting for 45 minutes for the show to start at Berlins Columbiahalle is really nothing compared to the 14 years we all waited until his third album was released late last year. What D’Angelo came up with on stage was pretty impressive: a nine-piece band, among them Pino Palladino on bass, Kendra Foster on vocals and a lead singer who had the crowd shouting, dancing, and singing for 2,5 hours. Not bad. At times, some of the songs turned into funky, never-ending jams and soulful anthems. D’Angelo shouted, screamed, but also caressed and sweet-talked the audience into a sermon. Other times, the rock guitars were a bit too much for my taste. D’Angelo played almost all tracks from his new album with some of his older stuff thrown in. He was also playing keyboards and guitars and was clearly the star of the evening.
Part James Brown, part George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, and part Prince, the drum-heavy show worked best in the more groove-oriented pieces like the brilliant “Sugah Daddy” from “Black Messiah” or “Back To The Future” from the same album. The band, including three background vocalists, was stunning throughout. For the final piece, his hit “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” was used as the perfect farewell as each musician from his new group The Vanguard left the stage one after the other until D’Angelo himself was left alone, elevated at his keyboard throne, preaching to his disciples.
His tour continues this upcoming week with performances in Paris (Monday), Birmingham (Tuesday), Manchester (Wednesday), London (Friday and Saturday), with more concerts scheduled in Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Brussels.