Aftermath: John Legend (Pre-ACL) at Verizon Wireless Theater - Hey, Better Late Than Never

Categories: Live Shots

[Ed. Note: We temporarily interrupt our postmortem ACL coverage to bring you this review of John Legend's show at Verizon Wireless Theater last Wednesday.]


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Photos by Daniel Kramer

9:03 p.m.: So we're here at Verizon Wireless Theater for the show. Going to a concert where you're not allowed to stand and move around freely (ala House of Blues) is weird. Like, it's hard to enthusiastically clap while sitting down (the tall fellow sitting next to us looks particularly awkward while doing so). We're reminded of that Mitch Hedberg joke about how it sucked getting angry in a tent because you couldn't slam the flap shut, which is kinda weird because we actually saw Hedberg perform here a few years ago right before he passed and sat in almost the exact same seats.

9:03:05 p.m.: We just realized that the "right before he passed" section of that last blurb was unnecessary. It couldn't have been "right after he passed." We mean, technically we guess it could have, but that show probably wouldn't have been near as funny.

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9:13 p.m.: They're playing some house music right now while Legend's band sets up. "Bittersweet Symphony" is playing. Whatever happened to The Verve? It was The Verve that sang that song, right? We always got them confused with Verve Pipe. Aren't there are, like, a jillion words in the English language? How did two somewhat similar sounding bands both end up on that word? How can this be anything but proof that the universe is cosmic?

9:22 p.m.: The lights have gone black and the backing band is slowly playing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." You can't really see much (which is usually what happens when the lights go black, we suppose). We're sitting here remarking to the girl that we came to the show with how there's no way this concert is going to any kind of fun. Then a spotlight shines down into the middle section of seats and Legend is standing there on a little stepstool thing singing. (Nobody saw him sneak over there once the lights went out.) The place erupts. We are compelled to stand up out of seat and cheer loudly. Crap. This is more emasculating than the time we screamed in the movie theater during Signs.

9:23 p.m.: We're silently waging a war with the guy sitting next to us over who will claim the dividing arm rest as his own. It's immediately apparent that he is uncomfortable with his arm touching ours. We got this in the bag. He's bigger and stronger and way more intimidating, sure, but there's no way he's going to out-gay us.

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9:26 p.m.: There's a polite enough looking old lady sitting two seats down from us. Question: Where does somebody buy a purse made of jean material designed to look like the backside of a pair of pants? More over, what does somebody carry in that purse? Dollars to cents it's a smaller version of the exact same purse. That's really the only thing that makes sense.

9:29 p.m.: We always thought him to be a humble guy -it has something to do with him looking like a man-sized chipmunk, we suspect- but Legend is unexpectedly confident on stage. We're just now realizing that it is absolutely absurd to have been surprised by this -he did, after all, change his surname to "Legend."

By the by, is there any way at all that he did not have the following conversation at least 12 times early in his career:

John: Yo, I need a name that makes me seem large and very important.
Friend: Hmmm, what about John Tall Tale?
John: No, no. That's not big enough. Physically, I'm very rodenty, so the name needs to be massive.
Friend: How about John Lore?
John: Nah. That rhymes with whore and I don't wanna have to deal with that.
Friend: John Fable?
John: Warmer...

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9:34 p.m.: He made it exactly 12 minutes into the show before the perfunctory Michael Jackson tribute. You know who we felt bad for when Michael Jackson died? Danseparc. They apparently had this whole Michael Jackson thing worked out for their DJ set but then he died and everyone started doing it so they decided against it. (Note: We immediately liked them more upon hearing that story.)

9:39 p.m.: John Legend is a monster on stage. He's relentless. He's already performed about 90 songs. There's no break. It's just song, song, song. It makes for a fun show, but on the cool, we don't care how well you play the piano, all-white skinny jeans are a little ridiculous.

9:43 p.m.: You wanna know how to make anything you say sound super romantic? Say it while you're playing the piano in the dark. That's what he's doing now while he talks about nothing and we're swooning. Our heart feels like it's melting inside our chest. We comment about this to our concert mate and she promptly asks, "Is it leaking out of your butt?" You want to how to make a super romantic situation super unromantic? Ask whoever you're with if something is leaking out of their butt.

p.s. Is that what would happen if your heart melted? She seemed very sure of herself when she mentioned it, like she knew it to be a fact. It seems like it could be true. Can somebody please ask a doctor for us?

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10:01 p.m.: We had a lapse in concentration and removed our arm from the armrest and the guy sitting next to us capitalized. He placed almost his whole arm on the rest. It's do or die time. We nudge ours back on their without hesitation. He relents. We are kings of the universe.

10:02 p.m.: He's doing that thing where he pulls one of the crowd members up on stage to dance with him. He picks a girl near the front wearing a vest. Fuck! We almost wore our vest today, too! That totally could've been us--err, we mean, ninjas and MMA and tits and racecars.

10:10 p.m.: Okay, seriously, we're were joking earlier about him having already performed 90 songs, but we have to be close that number for real now. He's been going nonstop. You know how if you have sex for too long after a while you're just like, "Ugh, c'mon already"? That's what this is beginning to feel like. Come on, John. Let's just do the thing where you pretend like the show is over and the place goes black and the people cheer for you until you come back and sing a way long version of "Ordinary People."

10:26 p.m.: [Note: We're sitting here looking over our notes while we type this out and at the 10:26 mark it reads "Legend samples Lil' Wayne's 'Lollipop.'" Let that sink in for a bit. Unintentional irony is funny.]

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10:35 p.m.: Have you ever been in a crowded space and all of a sudden it just started smelling like musk? That happened right now. There are so many aspects of this that need to be discussed. Since when did it become acceptable to apply cologne in crowded areas, let alone the tail end of a John Legend concert? Who does that? And why musk? More to the point, why more musk? Was somebody really sitting there thinking, "I know I kinda already smell like a chode, but I really want to drive it home"? Jesus Christ sometimes we hate people.

10:47 p.m.: Okay, we are frigg'n brilliant. Take a second and reread the 10:10 blurb. We swear to God that exact thing is happening right now.

10:50 p.m.: Save for a couple of moments that felt like he was performing every song that had ever been written (Legend touched on MJ, Prince, Bob Marley, Rick Ross, Lil' Wayne and 50 Cent to name a few), this was actually a way better Wednesday night show than we were anticipating. Big-ups to Mr. Legend and his all white pants.

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