Live Review: D'Angelo

22 March 2016 | 10:57 am | Danielle O'Donohue

"The audience [was] eating out of the palm of his hand, and the floor of the Concert Hall [was] a hot, writhing dance party."

After waiting 14 years for the follow-up album to D'Angelo's world-conquering Voodoo, the enigmatic artist's Sydney fans didn't mind the one-hour 40 minutes D'Angelo left them waiting at the Sydney Opera House on this wet Monday night. Coming on stage just after 9.30pm wearing a striking white hat and a waistcoat made of black feathers, neo-soul superstar D'Angelo and his band The Vanguard built the crowd up into a frenzy.

With a main set that clocked in just on the hour, D'Angelo got straight down to business, opening the set with Voodoo's Devil's Pie, then strapping on his outlandish black and silver signature guitar for a rock-heavy Funkadelic cover of Red Hot Mama. Looking relaxed and happy to be on stage, D'Angelo prepared the Sydney crowd for the hour ahead saying, "I know this is the Opera House and all but we came here to rock your socks off." And they most certainly did.

With The Vanguard locked into a tight, thick groove, D'Angelo was given ample space to seduce the audience with songs old and new, including Roberta Flack's Feel Like Makin' Love that D'Angelo recorded for Voodoo and new album Black Messiah's politically charged The Charade. Paying plenty of attention to the front couple of rows, D'Angelo fist-bumped the men and crooned to the women, shimmied his hips and returned to the mic after a song with a new embellishment to his outfit whether it be a different hat or the addition of a long, hooded cardigan.

With the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, and the floor of the Concert Hall a hot, writhing dance party, the R&B icon sat at the piano for the first song of the encore teasing the audience with the first bars of biggest single Untitled (How Does It Feel). After a couple of false starts, D'Angelo delivered on his promise and, with his band joining him on stage, he exuded a smooth, unrestrained sexuality. In the Opera House's 50-year history there's been a lot of acts to grace the Concert Hall stage, but few can boast a show as hot as D'Angelo.

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