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John Legend romanced his fans at the Paramount Theatre with nearly two hours of music Monday night — sexy, soulful fare that made them swoon, cheer and sing along.
Backed by a four-piece band and two female backup singers, the nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-pianist opened with the silky-smooth “Made to Love,” from his current album, “Love in the Future.”
Dressed in black shirt, jacket, slacks and shoes, the Ohio native looked stylish but casual for a show that highlighted soul and R & B songs from “Love in the Future” and his previous album, “Evolver,” as well as “Once Again” and “Get Lifted.” Some the lyrics — “Give me the green light/Give me just one night” — sounded like pickup lines.
A wide video screen behind the stage displayed slow-motion images of falling rose petals, flickering candles, rain drops and billowy clouds, emphasizing the romantic nature of his music.
The gifted artist demonstrated a flair for showmanship — even venturing into the crowd for a few moments — without preening. He came across as an affable performer unhampered by ego.
Legend swept through such songs as “Tonight,” “Used to Love U,” “Open Your Eyes” and “Save the Night,” all of them enthusiastically received.
For the 2008 hit single “Green Light,” Legend appeared at the grand piano under a cone of green light, teasing concertgoers about spending some “alone time” with them while his band took a break.
Introducing his sultry, somber version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” Legend talked about performing the song last year with The Roots on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” — but not receiving even a tweet from Springsteen until “The Boss” wrote him an appreciative letter months later.
Legend sang “Ordinary People,” the uplifting, deeply emotional single, and after stepping away from the piano finished the song a cappella.
After closing the main set with “So High,” Legend returned for the lush “All of Me,” accompanied by a dreamy black-and-white video of his recent honeymoon with wife Chrissy Teigen in Lake Como, Italy. He finished with the gentle ballad “Who Do We Think We Are.”
Opening was singer and talk-show host Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton’s youngest sister. Often perched on a stool, the golden-haired Braxton talked frankly about her relationship with husband and record executive Vince Herbert and performed saucy versions of “White Candle,” “Hot Sugar” and the title song of her current album, “Love and War.”