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SADE: 02, LONDON, MAY 31, 2011
Sade definitely know how to make an entrance: ascending on to the stage of the 02 bringing sheer class, Ms. Adu looks stunning in black, an ageless beauty and with her instantly recognisable and distinctive tones takes us through “Soldier of Love” as the opening number. For the next song we are transported back to 1984 and “Your Love is King” her first single. I was still at school and loved the song and album. I have grown up with Sade and am struck through the evening with each song triggering memories both good and bad.

As a band, Sade have a huge catalogue of classic songs spanning those 26 years and we are treated to “Kiss of Life”, “Sweetest Taboo”, “Paradise”, “It’s All About Our Love” and others. The songs are not just performed, but enhanced by some impressive videos, visuals, lighting or graphics and in the case of “Smooth Operator” a classy, super smooth and slick short film which was one of the highlights of the night.

“Jezebel” is touchingly performed, including the soaring sax of Stuart Matthewman. I am struck by the fact that I am in the 20,000 capacity 02 Arena, yet Sade have managed to make it intimate. I don’t think this is because my seat is a mere 15 rows from the stage. Much thought has gone into the staging and setting of the show which complements each song perfectly. I can remember sitting in my living room and being blown away the first time Sade performed “Is It A Crime” at Live Aid in 1985. One of my favourite Sade songs, a magically, unaffected highlight that gave me goose bumps. Perfection!

Further highlights included “Pearls”, “No Ordinary Love” and then the backing singers had their chance to get the audience up and moving to “Nothing Can Come Between Us”. This led us to a third change of dress for Ms Adu into a silvery, white gown with her hair down, barefoot and ready to take on the song “King of Sorrow” which was inspired. The set also included other songs from the “Soldier of Love” album including “The Moon and the Sky” and “Long Hard Road.” Almost two hours later, the group left the stage almost certain to return after performing “By Your Side”.

Ms. Adu took some time to include solos and introducing the band. The encore was another favourite “Cherish the Day” and a fitting end to a show, which as all good shows should, left me wanting more. I could have happily sat there for another hour and basked in that unmistakeably mellow, soulful and beautiful experience.

About the Writer
Terry Joe is a London-based has led bands as a vocalist, releasing cds and regularly performing. His favourite artists include Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Nathan Haines, Me'shell NdegeOcello and many more.
  
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