The definition of musicianship, soul and musical importance was further defined last night when I had the opportunity to see two of my biggest idols and inspirations of all time… D’Angelo and Questlove. I had scored tickets to this event just a week ago and hadn’t been able to wipe the smile off my face since.
I showed up four hours prior to the start of the show (yeah, I am obsessed) and watched as a who’s who of audience poured in. It was amazing to see Derek Trucks, Eric Krasno, Bilal, Chromeo, Robert Glasper, Sean Lennon, Melanie Fiona, Citizen Cope and many others in the same room, all just as excited to experience the legendary concert as I was. When Questlove and D’angelo finally came out, though it wasn’t until two hours after the concert was scheduled to start, the audience erupted in a cheer and excitement. For me, I knew at that moment, that my dream was coming true. I teared up.
Questlove came stage center, shook a few audience members hands (I was one of them), then proceeded to say that the concert would be a little different than any other show. It was just the two of them, the way most of D’Angelos songs were written, playing music and jamming. They both sat down at their instruments and captivated the audience from then on.
Though Questlove is my favorite drummer of all time, I’d never seen him perform live. Watching him was incredible… it made me fall in love with drums all over again. Every note he hit meant something. Every note he left out meant even more. His pocket led the audience to shout and holler on multiple occasions, and kept our feet moving and heads bobbing nonstop. Whether he was playing a straight feel hip-hop groove or a J-Dilla (slum) inspired pocket, it always felt perfect.
As for D’Angelo, well, he lived up to my expectations and then some. Because it was just the two of them, there was no bass player. D’Angelo assumed the roll of playing bass in his left hand, whether it was on a vintage synth, clav or Rhodes. Let me just say, he gave Pino Palladino a run for his money. His key bass playing was untouchable. His overall piano chops were some of the best I’ve ever heard. He is now not only one of my top three favorite singer/songwriters, but also, one of my favorite piano players. Yes, he is that good!
As for his voice… HOLY S***. Its effortless for the guy. It made Questlove giggle while playing and kept him smiling just as wide as all of us. It took me higher on multiple occasions. It’s so dynamic and present, its so soothing and soulful, its the voice that makes up one of the greatest albums ever made, “Voodoo”. It’s one of the greatest vocals ever.
Questlove and D’angelo played a slew of covers, from Funkedlic to Sly and the Family Stone, to the Ohio Players. They played only a few of his original tunes, like Lady, Afrika and The Root. I will admit, I wish they played more originals, but then again, I wish they just played for ten hours straight.
After the show, I got to shake D’Angelos hand and had one of those “I’m never going to wash this hand” moments (though I did when I got home). Not to sound too weird, but D’Angelos and Questloves hands are so important to me. Without them, some of my favorite albums wouldn’t have been made. Sounds nuts, I know, but thats just the truth.
All in all, I am so grateful I got to experience the performance last night. I feel more confident in who I am and the music I love, more so than ever before. The performance will serve as further inspiration to my musical journey and career. It will be a concert I will never ever forget and one that I will tell everyone about. Thank you D’Angelo and Questlove for putting that together, and thank you Brooklyn Bowl for hosting it. I am still on cloud 9, and I can’t wait for the new D’Angelo album, which is confirmed to drop this year.
With Peace and Love