Thread: Stevie Wonder-Concord Pavilion 8/26/07

MundeleinHoward - 8/27/2007 at 09:57 AM

Quite simply one of the best shows I've ever seen! I guesstimate that I've seen 300+ shows in my life & this was a top 5! If he's coming to your neck of the woods & you have a chance, don't think, just go!
He came on stage escorted by his daughter ("Isn't She Lovely") Aisha & went into a monologue about why he's back on tour after all this time, talked about his mother's passing last year & how it affected him, etc. Then Aisha led him to a grand piano where he launched into "Love's In Need Of Love Today" midway through, the band came on stage & joined in. Stevie seemed to be in a very good mood, several times during the show he would pause after the intro notes to a song teasing us with a big grin on his face.There were several sing-alongs & incredible musicanship from his band,which consisted of a drummer, 2 percussionists, 2 keyboardists, 2 guitarists, bass & 3 singers (1 male & 2 females-Aisha being 1) He played for 2-1/2 hours, no intermission & no encore as such.

Love's In Need Of Love Today
Too High
Living For The City (single version)
Master Blaster (Jammin')
Talkbox Improv >
I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1 verse) >
Talkbox improv >
Higher Ground
Golden Lady
Ribbon In The Sky >
Conga duet >
Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing >
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours >
"Country Style" of ^ (chorus only) >
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (Charlie Rich song- 1 verse)
Boogie On Reggae Woman >
Audience Sing-Along >
My Cherie Amour
I Wish
Sir Duke >
All I Do
Isn't She Lovely >
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
Superstition >
Give Up The Funk (chorus) >
Do I Do-w/ band intro & Stevie on 2nd drums >
Part Time Lover >
I Just Called To Say I Love You >
Another Star

The "country" version of "Signed, Sealed..." was very amusing as Stevie sang w/ a twang & played it at a different tempo. The audience sing-along had (call & response style) the men singing " Baby, babe, babe, babe, baby" & the women singing "I got what you want, but you gotta get it yourself"- very fun & funny! During "Isn't She Lovely" Aisha sat next to him & at 1 point he got choked up & missed a verse, very touching. He said many amusing things between songs when the songs weren't segueing into the next. I ( & most of the crowd) laughed a lot during his funny asides & teasing false song starts.
As I said in the beginning,if you get a chance, GO SEE HIM!!!

San Francisco Chronicle review:
Review: An older Stevie Wonder - still a full-time performance
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music critic

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

That beautiful woman holding Stevie Wonder's arm as he walked onstage Sunday at Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord was no lady. That was his daughter, Aisha Morris, last heard as a giggling baby on "Isn't She Lovely," a song dad wrote to celebrate her birth, from his 1976 album, "Songs in the Key of Life."

When Wonder sang that song later in the 21/2-hour show on his first tour in more than 10 years, his daughter moved out of the chorus and sat down next to her father at the piano bench. Wonder choked up during the verse, stopped singing and just leaned his head back into his daughter's shoulder and cried.

The entire show was an outpouring from Wonder. If he wasn't snapping off hit after hit, starting the next song right on top of the last, he was talking aimlessly but enthusiastically to the capacity crowd in the balmy night air and under the almost full moon. Backed by a powerful 11-piece band, the Master Blaster got rolling to the point where he didn't know how to end it. He just kept playing more songs - took a drum solo, even - and finally walked offstage. The house lights answered the audience's call for an encore.

He began the evening with just him and his daughter, standing in the middle of the stage, explaining how the death of his mother last year led him back to performing. His daughter sat beside him while at the piano, then he started "Love's in Need of Love Today," the song that also opened his 1976 landmark album, as the other musicians took their places behind him and slid into the song quietly after the first chorus.

And when he pulled out the signature chromatic harmonica in the middle of the next song, the walloping "Too High," he connected with Little Stevie Wonder, that 13-year-old blind kid, all knobby knees and jutting elbows, blowing "Fingertips, Part Two" on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

He concentrated almost exclusively in the 24-song program on material from his golden days, bunching up ballads, then blasting end-to-end thumpers. Switching off between baby grand and his trademark Hohner electric clavinet, Wonder led the sleek, agile group of musicians through their smart paces, three percussionists charging up the rhythms, two keyboards besides Wonder fattening the sound. The nonexistent horn section was missed most severely on key songs such as "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," "Sir Duke" and "Superstition."

But Wonder kept the rich emotionalism of his music in the foreground of every song's performance, whether it was the jubilant "I Wish" or the ethereal "Ribbon in the Sky." His singing was a delightful mess of twitches, quirks, grumbles, bellows and some of the most joyous vocals this side of Ray Charles. He laces churning, propulsive melody lines on the keyboards straight through the heart of the songs and is also probably the only person in the world who can hold an audience spellbound goofing around on the talk box, guilelessly squeezing his voice into funhouse sounds and fooling with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" or "Billie Jean."

He brought the show to a fevered peak with "Superstition." The audience followed his lead, singing P-Funk's "Give Up the Funk," as Wonder and band slammed into "Do I Do" and Wonder climbed atop his piano bench, waving his arms and shouting like a gospel singer.

He was almost exhausting with his gifts on extravagant display, but that's always been part of the Stevie Wonder experience. At the height of his powers in the '70s, when he was spitting out double-record sets what seemed like every few months and touring to overstuffed arenas, he put on marathon performances that rivaled the Grateful Dead's in length. He just has so much to say.

The older, more mature Wonder may be somewhat more focused, but he still takes great relish in exploring those gifts.

E-mail Joel Selvin at

[Edited on 8/28/2007 by MundeleinHoward]

Brock - 8/27/2007 at 01:14 PM

Appreciate the review. Was thinking about this one at Chastain, ATL 9-14, but it's sold out now. Still, w/ 5 shows already scheduled in the next 2 mos, I'm overloaded. It would just have to be great though.

robslob - 8/27/2007 at 01:34 PM

I'm jealous as hell, Howard........wanted to catch this one but being down in San Jose it didn't work out, had to work 12 hours yesterday. He's playing down here at The Mountain Winery but tickets were ridiculously priced (of course, the place only holds 1,700) and they went in about one hour. Sounds like an awesome show, the one recent one I regret missing the most. The only time I've seen Wonder was 1972.........he opened for The Stones, and he blew them off of the stage!

Rubba - 8/27/2007 at 01:38 PM

This is incredibly ironic.

Was with the wife yesterday and found myself humming Visions. I says, "May, when was the last time Stevie toured? Musiquarium? Would love to see him...".

Lo and behold, my questions have been answered this morning. Going to check his schedule now. Thanks, and glad you had a great show. It looks amazing.

Rubba - 8/27/2007 at 01:42 PM

Unfortunately, every ticket <$250 is gone for the Radio City show - a collaboration with Santana, Aretha, and a few others. Looks like Boston or Baltimore - If'n I can swing it....

patrickcrenshaw - 8/28/2007 at 01:11 AM

wow, the only thing missing is "fingertips" -- can't wait!

pops42 - 8/28/2007 at 01:33 AM

The last time I can recall Stevie being on tour was 1980-81? he is just one of the greatest of all time!!. I hope Im able to catch a show this time out!!.

cohenf - 8/28/2007 at 01:38 AM

I saw him a little more than 20 years ago. A friend of mine wanted me to go and I, relucantly, agreed. My attitude was negatively affected by the syrupy "I just called to say I love you," which was constantly played on radio. At that time, I didn't know the classic albums like "Book," "Fulfillingness," "Key," "Mind," etc. I went to the show and was blown away by the great music.

Here is the funny part. This was at the Rosemont Horizon (in Chicago area, by the airport). A lot of fans were holding up signs that said things like "We Love You." Of course, he can't see the darn things. The show was great but our laughter at the sight of fans holding up signs helped make it memorable. I'm sure someone in his band or crew told him about the signs and he got a good laugh out of it. Another funny thing is that I rarely ever see signs allowed in venues. Somehow, they were allowed here. Cheers!

yurtle420 - 8/28/2007 at 02:39 AM

August 2007
23 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey's
25 - Stateline, NV - Harvey's Lake Tahoe Amphitheatre
26 - Concord, CA - Concord Sleep Train Pavilion
28 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
30 - Portland, OR - Edgefield Amphitheatre
31 - Woodinville, WA - Chateau Saint Michelle Winery

September 2007
4 - Saratoga, CA - Mountain Winery
5 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
10 - Chicago, IL - Charter One Pavilion
12 - Rochester Hills, MI - Meadowbrook
14 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre
16 - Baltimore, MD - Pier Six Pavilion
20 - Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavilion

absnj - 8/29/2007 at 05:44 PM

from yesterday's Wall Street Journal---

The Wonder Who Is Stevie
August 28, 2007; Page D6

Lake Tahoe, Nev.

You hear Stevie Wonder's influence everywhere in contemporary pop and R&B. The use of synthesized polyrhythms, lyrics that report on inner-city life, romantic ballads that soar to their peak: If we can't say Mr. Wonder invented these staples of today's scene, let's agree that no one's ever done them better. As a vocalist, his impact is unsurpassed; R&B singer and producer Raphael Saadiq once told me, "Everybody who has a tone tries to sing like Stevie." Today's R&B and hip-hop stars see him as a man who rose from Motown's stable of artists to seize control of his own musical destiny as a songwriter, producer and performer. As such, he's the model for the pop entrepreneur.
[Stevie Wonder]
Stevie Wonder performing on tour.

While Mr. Wonder's influence is ubiquitous, he isn't. His current tour, which began in San Diego on Aug. 23, is his first in 12 years. (He's done the occasional one-off benefit and private performance.) It's a curiously brief tour: only 13 dates in small and midsize venues, including two at wineries, in late summer as vacations end and students head back to school. But to my mind, any opportunity to see Mr. Wonder perform is an event, given his gift and how he's presented it for four decades. I attended the second show on the tour, on Saturday, at Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino and Resort's outdoor stage, as excited as I've been for a show in years.

Though not without some trepidation. Mr. Wonder's most recent album of new material, 2005's "A Time 2 Love" (Motown), was his first in a decade and was fairly tepid, at least by his high standards. That, and his lengthy absence from the stage, hinted at a cooling passion, though Mr. Wonder is only 57 years old and seems in robust health. Two Web sites dedicated to him, and, suggest neglect. Compare them to sites associated with some of his greatest contemporaries --, or, for example -- and you'll insist he deserves the kind of lovingly comprehensive overview these others receive.

But as the moon rose over Heavenly Mountain (and the garish glass-and-steel casinos and hotels), Mr. Wonder arrived onstage and quickly dispelled any fears that his fire has diminished. Joined by his daughter Aisha Morris -- a singer who made her recording debut as a newborn less than 1 minute old on "Isn't She Lovely," on her father's 1976 album "Songs in the Key of Life" -- Mr. Wonder took a moment to thank the audience and dedicate the tour to his late mother. Then he sat with his daughter at a grand piano and performed a flawless "Love's in Need of Love Today." It was a touching moment, and one that foreshadowed the intensity of the evening's performance.

[Stevie Wonder]
• Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, Calif., Tonight
• McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater Troutsdale, Ore., Thursday
• Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville Wash., Friday
• The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, Calif., Sept. 4
• Greek Theater, Los Angeles, Sept. 5
• Charter One Pavillion, Chicago, Sept. 10
• Meadow Brook Music Festival, Rochester Hills, Mich., Sept. 12
• Chastain Park, Atlanta, Sept. 14
• Pier 6 Concert Pavilion, Baltimore, Sept 16
• Radio City Music Hall, New York Sept. 18

Backed by 11 musicians, Mr. Wonder easily shifted from ballads to crackling up-tempo numbers. Of the former, "Visions" and "Overjoyed" allowed him to display his prowess as a singer, especially in the upper register, using his characteristic flights of note-bending vocalese known as melisma with seeming ease. (Blaming Mr. Wonder for the overused, often poorly executed melisma in today's "American Idol" school of pop singing would be as off the mark as blaming Miles Davis for smooth jazz: A good idea done well by some has been bludgeoned into clichι by the imitative and less gifted.) In "Golden Lady," which simmered with an undertone reminiscent of "Mercy, Mercy Me" by Marvin Gaye, Mr. Wonder's former drummer and Motown colleague, and in "Ribbon in the Sky," he pushed the technique to an extreme, challenging the band, especially bassist Nathan Watts, to find a way to respond.

The up-tempo songs from his mid-'70s albums reminded us how Mr. Wonder blended rock's boiling undertones with the urgency of soul, as the insistent sound of his synthesizer set the groove in "Higher Ground" and allowed the tension to mount as he ushered in "Living for the City." Yet "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," which came at the end of his classic soul period, hinted that that kind of interplay was already in his jazz-inflected work. For the song, he moved from the synth back to the grand piano and performed a descending bass line that revealed the funk and snap he'd carry forward.

Charming, effusive, Mr. Wonder was in a mischievous mood throughout the evening. "I'm a blind man with a shotgun," he declared to anyone who'd think to approach his daughter. He told a long story of how he came to write "My Cherie Amour" -- he was a young teen and wanted to impress a resistant girl, and Mr. Wonder did both coy voices to explain how the attempt at conquest unfolded. Realizing drummer Chris Johnson was having an extraordinary night -- his cymbal play on "Master Blaster (Jammin')" dazzled -- Mr. Wonder, a terrific drummer in his own right, suggested they'd have a one-on-one battle behind the kits before the tour was over. At the end of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," he shifted into a country version of the song, prompting the audience to sing with a twang. A few bars of Ernest Tubbs's "Walking the Floor Over You" followed.

But his most playful moments came during the music. He compelled the band to stutter, stop and start during a fierce "I Wish," which came out of a knotty "Sir Duke," his tribute to Ellington, Basie and those who preceded him as an inspiring bandleader. He toyed with the riff of "Superstition," playing off the beat and showing the song's roots in both rock and jazz. He extended the ending of the Latin-flavored "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" and, later, offered a snippet of Chick Corea's "Spain."

Throughout the evening, the audience -- middle-aged couples, teens, parents with their kids -- was enthralled, singing and dancing along. From my perch in the bleachers, I couldn't help but notice that with Mr. Wonder, you don't just clap on the two and four: His music makes you a polyrhythmic machine too, tapping your feet on the one and three, bobbing your head between beats, and swaying as you smile. Suddenly, if only for a few hours, everybody's got soul.

I walked away beaming. Never for a moment was there a sense that Mr. Wonder's best days are behind him. In the presence of his talent and energy, it was far from a foolish thought to believe that he will continue to add to his legacy.

Mr. Fusilli writes about pop and rock music for the Journal.

[Edited on 8/29/2007 by absnj]

Jacquie - 8/29/2007 at 05:47 PM

Thanks Howard. What a nice thread and a nice read. Always loved Stevie.

lolasdeb - 8/29/2007 at 06:09 PM

Disappointed I won't be able to catch Stevie on this tour because of other plans but I've seen him before and he put on one of the best shows I've ever had the pleasure of being at. Met up with some old friends there who had been dragged to the show by their girlfriends, thinking they were not going to enjoy it, and everybody - even the reluctant attendees - left the show raving with big smiles on. Thanks for the reviews folks!

DerekFromCincinnati - 8/31/2007 at 05:05 PM

I also saw him about20 years ago was loved it. He played a long time, and did talk a bit, but the musicianship was undeniable. I alwys liked his music anyway, especially the FUNK>

What I also dug about it was his harmonica playing, which I loved.


Rubba - 10/13/2007 at 03:05 AM


I finally may get that ticket I had been searching for. Tix go on sale on Monday morning @ 10am. Woo hoo!!!!

MundeleinHoward - 10/13/2007 at 03:44 AM

Good Luck!!! I'm still buzzin' from that show!!!

tfhello - 10/13/2007 at 05:29 AM

I just got my Pittsburgh tix and my wife and I are going for our anniversary.

They had floor seats for $70, but we opted for the cheaper $50 ones directly across from the stage, but up higher.

Either way (I can't believe I'm saying this), but I didn't think the prices were that bad for seeing a living legend like Stevie. I guess that just shows how high ticket prices have gotten over the last decade or so.

I can't wait for the show.

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