Oscar Wide astutely once remarked “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others when they go“. Well, D’Angelo has to enter into the former category without a shadow of a doubt. I must have googled his name an embarrassing number of times from the year 2000 onwards after the release of ‘Voodoo’ until finally giving up maybe 12 years later. However at the end of last year, ‘The Black Messiah’, for it is he, came back with a new album thus entitled, along with a new band ‘The Vanguard’ that promptly blew both fans, critics and other artists away.

Now touring Europe, he walks slowly on stage, whilst his 10 piece band have started funking up, looking much healthier and fitter than past photographs over the last 10 years have denounced. There is a good sized crowd, no more than that but wholly made up of fans both eager and amazed to be’ in the moment’.

It is a gig that reaches emotional levels unattainable by most artists due to the total commitment from every stage member and thanks to the main man, the eclectic and charismatic D’Angelo who can seduce like Marvin G, groove like James B, rock like Prince, break hearts like Smokey R, swing like Cutis M.

This magical aura is created that consumes the crowd. It’s like a throng, together for a party, celebrating the return of a true artist. The evening is a hot one here in Milano but amazingly there are no mosquitoes or bouts of heat fever as if the ‘Esta The’ sound stage built for EXPO2015 is enveloped in a protective bubble.

Highlights are an incredibly funky, sexy ‘Brown Sugar’, a Prince style jam on ‘The Charade’ maybe the best pro ode Afro American song this year, the subtle band interplay in ‘Really Love’, fabulous backing vocal arrangements, the bass and drum section of Pino Palladino and Chris Dave.

Letting each individual band member take a bow and leave the stage during ‘How Does It Feel’ in a most casual and yet so sincere fashion highlights the bond between D’Angelo and his band. Finally left alone on his keyboards, he end the song and wishes each and everyone “Peace and Love”.

He will be the biggest R’n’B artist of this decade I am sure of it. Still only 41, D’angelo is back where he belongs. As Pharrell Williams said of ‘Happiness’, as in this case, “it’s the truth”.


SETLIST MILANO:

Ain't That Easy
Vanguard theme
Betray my heart
Spanish Joint
Really Love
The Charade
Brown Sugar
Sugah Daddy
Encore:
Till It's Done (Tutu)
Drum Solo
Untitled (How Does It Feel)

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