"Y'all have to understand something about me," Ledisi said to the thousand-plus fans who came to witness "The Truth Tour," at Dallas' Majestic Theatre on Wednesday night. "I never take any of this for granted: anytime there's a town added to the schedule I say the same prayer: 'Please let there just be people....even if there's only 3 in the audience I can still have a show.'"
It was that type of modesty---with liberal sprinkles of sass and slapstick humor mixed in throughout---that regales the performer's back-in-the-day fans and instantly wins new ones. "That Good Good" kicked off her hour-long set with energy, showcasing a lithe pair of female dancers, two statuesque background singers and a full band. Ledisi's always been a mover and shaker, but the hair-whipping and precision choreography she displayed during "Rock With You" practically put her in Janet Jackson-type territory. "I've got two audiences to please now, old school and new school," she said after completing her first sing-along of the evening, "Bravo." "I'll throw some more dancing in here and there, but I'm still old-school."
The rest of Ledisi's set was a combination of, well, vamp and Vaudeville: her vocals were pitch-perfect whether she sung a full song or a medley mash-up of oldies-but-goodies like "Higher Than This," "Going Thru Changes"and "Let's Stay Together," where she playfully parodied Jaheim's husky baritione and moved from side to side to help folks to imagine his presence ("Some of ya'll are gonna be mad and going on Instagram and Twitter talmbout,'Man, Ledisi didn't do my song,' but I can't please everybody.'"). In-between the costume changes and suggestive hip swivels----"Like This" was full of grinding and "Lose Control" practically had a climactic finish----Ledisi dispensed womanisms and wisdom for the masses: "Have faith, love yourself and be careful of who you allow in your circle, some folks aren't worthy of being in your presence." As for the ladies, she gave sashaying lessons and told them to always keep those moves in practice: "That way, in case your man acts up, you can keep right on with that walk and find you another one."
Robert Glasper wasn't nearly as chatty as Ledisi, but he and his trio more than regaled with their sonic, searing jazz grooves: he and his fellow Experiment members earned shouts and approval with their improvisational interludes and vocoded, yet stirring renditions of Sade's "Cherish the Day" and Bill Withers' "Lovely Day." The Grammy-Award winner's self-depreciating humor was almost as entertaining as their set: "On my latest CD Black Radio 2,
I've got collaborations with Faith Evans, Eric Roberson, Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton....basically, any *expletive* with a throat." And opening act Sheliek, making his first appearance ever in Dallas just ahead of his debut release, Blood, Sweat & Tears,
showed tremendous potential with "Feel It," "That's How Beautiful You Are" and "The Past." His clean-cut persona, engaging vocals and message-filled music genuinely impressed the audience and made them feel as though they were truly witnessing a star on the rise.
By Melody Charles