He's THAT great.
Proving that once again with a sizzling one hour fifteen minute or so headline set, by the end of the show, he had person after person running to the stage to just shake his hand and touch him.
Although the scene wasn't quite the frenzy of Al Green in the 1970s, it was pretty close.
Opening with Pretty Wings, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand from minute one. There were, however, moments where muddled arena sound overwhelmed his vocals, but his renditions of Sumthin', Sumthin', Til The Cops Come Knockin', and other classics brought those chills down your spine; the ladies responding accordingly, swaying hypnotically to many of his ballads.
A great dancer and showman, backed by a stellar band, he acknowledged that R&B and live music is not dead, as evidenced by a nearly packed house and this stellar event.
Leela James opened the show and her gritty style of R&B is a throwback to the 60's and 70's when SANGers belted them out of the park, and she did just that, winning this jaded old school fan over this first time I'd seen her live.
The great Ledisi followed in a disappointingly short 30 or so minute set followed by a nearly 45 minute intermission. For me that math just didn't work. I saw her at Summerstage in Central Park a while back doing a full show and she, short of maybe a Stephanie Mills and Chaka, is as tremendous an R&B singer walking the face of the Earth and you just were left wanting more. Her set was almost a tease.
All in all, though, a great night of music and the Prudential Center in Newark is easily accessible by the Path Train and by railroad. R&B is alive in 2017- go out and support it.
Evan Ginzburg is the Associate Producer of The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke and a 25 year plus veteran of film, radio and TV, formerly with 50,000 Watt WBAI-FM 99.5. He is the host of the Arts program, "The Evan Ginzburg Show" on www.villageconnectionradio.com heard Sundays 11AM-1PM.