Seal "Take's it to the Limit"
Concert Review at Concord Pavilion ..5/21/99
By Randy Cohen
...........Three years ago, Seal was a pop superstar on the rise. He'd made a name for himself earlier in the decade with the single "Crazy," which introduced the world to his warm voice and soulful, high-polish pop sound.
...........His singing resonates with feeling, and -- unlike many singers of his day -- he actually has something to say. Songs about love, tolerance and racial harmony .
..........A British native of Nigerian descent, Seal cut a striking figure on stage -- 6 feet 4 inches tall, with shaved head and skin nearly as dark as his black shirt and leather pants, he looked like a photo-negative of the Silver Surfer. .....................
...............Seal opened at the Concord Pavilion with "The Beginning" and "Future Love Paradise" from the first album. Somewhere around the fifth number, "Dreaming in Metaphors," the singer and band really meshed. By the time they got to "Newborn Friend," they kicked into overdrive, and for most of the show the crowd was on its feet-- through songs "Fast Changes," "Wild" and the first encore, "Bring it On". Midway through Seal's Friday night concert at the Concord Pavilion, the singer announced that the next song he'd perform, "Colour," was inspired by his dreams of a world with no "color lines," no racial divisions. If this were such a world, Seal just might be its ideal pop star. His music exudes some of the middlebrow grandiosity that typifies such middle-of-the-road monoliths as Barbra, Celine and Mariah. Yet it also carries the grit and rhythmic lan of soul and house music, the toughness and drive of rock 'n' roll. He balances this with his powerful voice with a incredible range. Ballads like "Lost My Faith" were balanced by his strong melodies. Songs such as "Prayer for the Dying," "Just Like You Said," and his mega-hit "Kiss From a Rose" all showed his superior ability to switch to any style of music and sing with beauty.
........... It would have been difficult not to put on a top-notch show with the caliber of musicians Seal has for his current tour. Guitarist Michael Landau provided propulsive rhythm riffs throughout and a terrific string-shredding solo in "Bring It On." Keyboardist David Sancious sprinkled poignant embellishments into "Dreaming in Metaphors" and replicated tart horn lines in "Fast Changes" and "Move on Up." Tony Levin played electric, upright and keyboard basses with marvelous articulation and flow. The real key to the show, though, was drummer Brian Blade. Well-versed in jazz, pop, etc., Blade played with a fabulously full sound, impeccable precision, stunning dynamics and inventive verve. He was a colossus, especially in "Human Beings," "Wild" and "Newborn Friend." It was a tight, flawless performance. But more impressive was the depth of Seal's musical expression.
People find there's more to appreciate as Seal's music evolves.
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