Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stevie Wonder!

At the moment I die, when the neurons fire off a rapid slideshow of faces and places in a highlight reel known as life flashing before my eyes, I can now say with a decent sum of confidence that Stevie Wonder will be there. Last night I had the incredible opportunity to perform at TD Garden in Boston on his Songs in the Key of Life tour. A ten-piece Boston-based section of dynamite string players accompanied on four tunes: Village Ghetto Land, Pastime Paradise, Isn’t She Lovely, and Joy Inside My Tears.

We met him at a brief rehearsal just before the show, where he gave us an ‘A’ from his piano (best ‘A’ I’ve ever had) and ran through the songs with us. The backstage atmosphere was remarkably calm, and his band and crew were friendly and engaging with us behind the scenes. 

Although the show followed the order of the original album, each song was saturated with the influence of nearly thirty-eight years of popular music. Luckily for us, this meant we got to sit on stage for several songs (including Sir Duke) and just listen (and dance in our chairs). Stevie was humble, spiritual, and grateful: Still in love with the music, still in love with life. There was no flashy set, no video projection, no laser light show. There was Stevie and his musicians, on a blank stage, with their instruments. Nothing superfluous: Just him and the music. It was spectacular.

Stevie was joined by India Arie and his own daughter Aisha Morris (who is one of six backup singers). Jazz violinist extraordinaire Jason Anick is on my left.
Photo by Debbie Lane