Concert Review: Ledisi at the Palladium Ballroom, Dallas

Concert Review: Ledisi at the Palladium Ballroom, Dallas

By Melody Charles

An hour-long lull between sets, canned music and an impromptu sound-check aren’t usually signs that a great show is just right around the corner, but fans were certainly treated to one when Ledisi took the stage in Dallas’ Palladium Ballroom this past weekend.

Concert Review: Ledisi at the Palladium Ballroom, Dallas

By Melody Charles

An hour-long lull between sets, canned music and an impromptu sound-check aren’t usually signs that a great show is just right around the corner, but fans were certainly treated to one when Ledisi took the stage in Dallas’ Palladium Ballroom this past weekend.

Frustration at the unexplained delay vanished instantly when the multi-Grammy-nominee and soul siren appeared at center stage, anchored by a five-piece band and a pair of background singers, wearing sequined black shorts, a flirty black blouse (her first of four costume changes) and her signature top knot of locks. Outstanding and fiery like the red in her hair, Ledisi was in constant motion, energetic and effusive in her joy as she connected with the predominantly female crowd of fans, dipping into favorites like “Higher Than This,” “Goin’ Thru Changes” and even an impromptu tribute to Michael Jackson, where she sung a couple of verses from “Heartbreak Hotel” and incorporated his trademark dance moves. “I’m from New Orleans and we moved out to Oakland CA, which is the hood,” she told fans after hearing good-natured chuckling in response, “so this is just how I am, forget y’all!”

Six CDs into her career and headlining her first-ever tour, Ledisi’s playful banter and unabashed confidence may have felt improvisational, but it’s a clear by-product of practice with timing, tone and precision. In the midst of her ‘every girl’ approachability, the woman is a pro, evident from her pitch-perfect versions of “Coffee,” “Bravo,” “Hate Me” and “Knockin’,” a cathartic number about overcoming life’s haters that was underscored by a rocked-out intro from her guitarist and a saucy explanation of its message: “you know that messy co-worker you got that’s always ready to tell you something foul to mess up your day? Exactly, this is for her!”

“I Miss You Now,” “Gotta Get To You” and even Nina Simone’s “Four Women” were not just sung: the ballads were scraped from her core, Ledisi’s dramatic range applauded like the singer and songwriter was delivering a solo from the church choir. To the packed-out audience below, Ledisi could do no wrong: her every costume change, her spoken segues and even her commands to the crowd (“Stop taking pictures and just be in the moment with me,” “y’all better act like y’all got some rhythm in here, let’s try that one again”) were met with high-fives, cheers and “SAY that, you BETTA sang!”, especially when she was joined by her tour’s opening act, Timothy Bloom* for her current hit single, “Stay Together.” By the time her latest CD’s title track, “Pieces of Me” rolled around, Ledisi had turned the evening into ‘Love Thyself 101’ and left the stage to move amongst the crowd, singing ‘I’m a woman, a woman, a woman woman woman….” as she embraced ecstatic fans and even gave the mic to a lucky few to sing along and underscore its message. “We’ve got to start celebrating one another as women,” said the sequin-rocking diva with a smile, “come on now!”

 

*The review tickets weren’t made available in time to witness Mr. Bloom’s set.

 

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