There’s nothing as entertaining as seeing an artist at the top of his game in an intimate venue. Such was the case when nine-time Grammy-winner John Legend made a stop in San Diego prior to embarking on his European arena tour for a solo show at the 2231-seat Copley Symphony Hall.
Legend kicked off the sold-out event with a stripped-down, stretched-out version of “Made to Love” from his latest album, Love in the Future. With no band or backing singers, he relied on his buttery voice and nimble piano playing to win over the crowd, and Legend often encouraged them to sing along, as on his first single, “Used to Love U,” and “Green Light.”
An amiable storyteller, Legend shared stories about growing up surrounded by music in the Pentecostal Church and being signed by Kanye West, who hired him to contribute vocal hooks to Jay Z and Alicia Keys songs. Playing snippets from several, the jovial singer followed with, “That was me, too!”
While a treat to hear Legend have fun with “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” and get the ladies squealing over his falsetto on “Ordinary People,” the 65-minute set’s most memorable moments came via two unexpected covers — a delicate version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” and captivating “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which he movingly dedicated to his late grandma who taught him how to play gospel piano.
- Concert: John Legend
- Seats: Mezzanine Row E, Seat 12
- Date: June 12
- Venue: Copley Symphony Hall