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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 19, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 33
Sade sultry and sleek at Key Arena
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Sade sultry and sleek at Key Arena

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Sade
August 14
Key Arena


Like the interior of a new Cadillac, Sade's appearance this week at Key Arena was lush, classy, and smooth.

Although Sade is the name of the R&B-soft jazz ensemble, fans refer to it more as a solo act because of its standout leading lady, Sade Adu. And on this night, she had the crowd of over 15,000 eating out of the palm of her hand.

The sound of thunder and flashes of lightning were immediate after the house lights dimmed, and then the curtains whooshed away at the blink of an eye, followed by the band ascending to the stage on an elevated platform. Sade herself, to the squeals of antsy concertgoers and a snare drum rattling in the background, appeared from a set of submerged stairs as the platform lifted into place - it looked as if she was walking up from a basement.

Coolly, she began the show with 'Soldier of Love,' the title track from last year's strong-selling album. Wearing black pants with a matching sheer top, glittery wristbands, big hoop earrings, and her hair pulled into a tight ponytail, the sight of Sade was breathtaking.

'Seattle, you've always been good to us,' said the ravishing frontwoman, 'and tonight it's payback time.' The group then glided into an effortless rendition of 'Your Love is King.' The band, striking in fitted black suits with black button-down shirts and same-color ties, was highlighted by Stuart Matthewman's dazzling saxophone work.

With a backdrop of flowers and Sade running through a meadow in a lime green dress, 'Kiss of Life' was spritely and included the singer puckering her lips into the microphone at the end of the song. As the band stood frozen in place, the silhouettes of two dancers were shown on a wall-sized screen on stage, and then the group ripped into 'Love is Found' that featured a riveting bass line.

Using animated visuals of a gritty urban apartment building and voiceovers of old-time mobsters, Sade offered a clever and sophisticated introduction to 'Smooth Operator,' which was then performed against a backdrop of New York City in sharp graphics. A quick costume change now found the lead vocalist in black pants and vest with a crisp white long-sleeved shirt. The band also altered their attire, this time appearing in dashing gray suits. 'Jezebel,' velvety like a bottle of barrel-aged scotch, was the evening's best song, an electrifying mix of guitar, sax, and richly layered vocals.

Through a transparent curtain - something Sade resurrected from their last tour, circa 2002 - 'Bring Me Home' was played, followed by 'Is it a Crime' that saw the stage bordered by crimson theater drapes. 'Paradise' got Sade, as well as most of the audience, dancing. Her curvaceous body slithering at the microphone was exciting to watch.

A few minutes later, as the band performed 'Nothing Can Come Between Us,' Sade changed into a beautiful, shiny, light silver gown with a red plunge-line and her hair down. She sang two slower numbers back-to-back, 'Morning Bird' and 'King of Sorrow,' but picked up the pace with 'The Sweetest Taboo.'

'No Ordinary Love,' a huge hit by the Grammy-winning act, was complimented by intense, dramatic guitars and the stage flickering in white lights. 'By Your Side' closed out the main set, and to say the crowd went wild is a severe understatement.

For an encore, Sade performed 'Cherish the Day' in a raspberry-colored long skirt and matching blouse. She stood on a pillar elevated many feet above the stage.

It had been almost 10 years since Sade came to Seattle, and there's no telling when they'll return. This made Sunday's concert a lifetime experience for many fans, who seemed more than satisfied by their exuberant smiles and cheers. As one of them said upon exiting the arena, 'I knew it was going to be good, but this was beyond amazing.' I couldn't agree more.

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