Concert Review: John Legend and Tamar Braxton rock the house

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    John Legend and Tamar Braxton
    Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
    November 9, 2013

    John Legend and Tamar Braxton
    Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
    November 9, 2013

    Silky-smooth, with a kiss of swag and an understated enthusiasm, John Legend kicked off the weekend just right for nearly 3,000 fans with his recent performance at Grand Prairie's Verizon Theatre. 

    The staging was relatively sparse---just a 4 piece band, 2 female background singers and his trademark baby grand in front of a panoramic screen---but Legend made his songs and presence larger than life, thanks to his pitch-perfect vocals and the images that synchronized with the lyrical content of his numbers, such as the melting montage that prefaced his opening number, "Made To Love," plumes of smoke that swirled behind him as he sung "Let's Get Lifted," the church sanctuary images that accompanied his rendition of 
    "Heaven Only Knows" (as they did in its video) and green lights that flashed overhead as he jumped into....well, you get the point. 

    Dressed in black from head to toe, with a low-cut fro' and becoming after-five shadow of a beard, Mr. Legend dipped briefly into older numbers such as "Save Room," 2010's "Wake Up Everybody," "Good Morning," "Number One," the sing-along signature ballad "Ordinary People" and "Stay With You," but dedicated the majority of his nearly two-hour set to his months-old fourth studio CD, Love In The Future. But for the exception of ...Future's bonus tracks, Legend kept his audience spellbound with practically every other track from the album, starting with the intro and spinning into "Open Your Eyes," "Save The Night," "Hold On Longer," "Tomorrow," "All Of Me" (compete with a snippet of his wedding footage) and "Caught Up," complete with fans singing the "bree-ee-ee-ee-eeathe" refrain as he held out the mic. The musician and performer didn't address the audience very often within the set, but when he did, Legend made it count: "There's something in the air tonight---everyone needs someone to look up to Dallas, why shouldn't it be us?" 

    His opening act, Tamar Braxton, didn't exactly have that problem: with a candor that matched her flamboyant reality show persona, the baby of the Braxton sisters sauntered into center stage in a lace-covered leggy leotard and handled her 30 minute set like the diva-in-training that she is, peppering favorites from her hit CD Love And War with her wig-flipping, neck-rocking and gum-popping persona and relationship advice ("Nothin' wrong with having a little conversation, even if it's just to tell em' "I like smothered chicken Boo, don't fry it no mo'!" ) before launching heartily into verses from "Pieces," "All The Way Home," the title track, "Hot Sugar" and "Stay and Fight," songs that she said she wrote and recorded that "saved her relationship" with hubby Vincent. 

    "I'm 36 years old, had 5 different record deals and everybody tried to shut me down," Tamar revealed to thunderous applause. Can't nobody stop you but you, so don't ever give up on you, no matter how short, skinny, fat, ugly, bald....just go on and get you a wig Boo-Boo, it's not that serious."

    By Melody Charles



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