For the first time since I’ve been touring with Stevie, we had an opening act tonight. John Legend performed a set with his full band. I decided to first do my make up and hair for the show, and then walked to an area next to the audience so I could watch John’s performance. He and his band sounded great! They performed a series of his hits, including his latest “Green Light”. But, I was waiting to hear “Ordinary People”, which came towards the end of the set. Satisfied, I returned to the dressing room to finish preparing for our show.
Another first: we started on time! Stevie spoke to the audience as we all entered the stage after him, and encouraged everyone to focus on the gift of Michael Jackson’s music, and to focus on love. Again, he started the show with “Love’s In Need”. Otherwise, the concert was a blend of the usual set list, spontaneous choices from Stevie’s catalog and Michael Jackson tunes. Stevie invited John Legend to come to the stage and sing several times during the night, including for “I Can’t Help It” and “Superstition”. Stevie also performed a more complete version of a song he’d debuted the night before, which he is dedicating to Michael and his family.
It was an extremely emotional night, with Stevie collapsing on his keyboard seat once during the concert. Aisha walked over to console him in his moment of obvious emotional pain. But Stevie pushed through the grief and gave a marvelous show. All of us on stage were affected by the shock of Michael’s death, and empathized with Stevie’s loss of a dear friend. I’m glad that we were all present to give Stevie our loving energy, along with that from the audience. What better balm for a grieving heart than love? None that I know!
As the parting note, the Michael Jackson montage that was played after the Kansas City concert was played again, with John joining all of us in a Michael Jackson dance jam. What a great show and what a lovely tribute!