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October 22, 2014

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Review:

Charismatic John Legend fits The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan like a glove

Image

Erik Kabik / Retna / ErikKabik.com

John Legend at The Chelsea on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

John Legend at The Chelsea

John Legend at The Chelsea on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Same splendid performance, different music venue.

Five months after an elegant, charismatic and flawless performance at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center, nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and musician John Legend delivered another master-class concert, this time Sunday night at The Chelsea in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Where other acts have struggled with the sound and acoustics in The Chelsea — Bruno Mars and Eric Church come to mind (keeping in mind that the artists and venue are not at fault here; the challenge is a technical one that should be solved during sound check) — Legend, with his three-man band and four-person string section — fit The Chelsea like a glove. Fancy white silk gloves that would’ve perfectly complemented Legend’s white tuxedo jacket.

The Chelsea, outfitted with rows of chairs on the spring-loaded main floor, became date night as couples aplenty reveled in Legend’s smooth-as-silk ballads upon ballads, broken up only by the uptempo “Green Light” and a fun cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” the latter of which had people on their feet dancing.

Legend is a master pianist, storyteller and charmer, and his flirty glances and smiles (Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model and newlywed wife Chrissy Teigen needn’t be concerned, though) sprinkled the perfect evening marred only by The Chelsea’s air conditioning cranked down to a subzero temperature and fans shouting at Legend ad nauseam.

Flirty? Before singing his second song of the night, “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” Legend said, “Las Vegas, I want to be the best you’ve ever had.” Legend sat at the piano much of the evening effortlessly executing high notes and deep, sexy low notes and weaving his setlist with stories about Kanye West, Usher and a touching one about the musical upbringing in his religious family in Ohio, with a dedication of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to his grandmother.

Sunday night’s setlist included “Made to Love,” “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” “Let’s Get Lifted,” “Used to Love U,” “Maxine,” “Again,” “Save Room,” “Green Light,” “Rock With You,” “Who Do We Think We Are,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” his new single and video “You and I (Nobody in the World),” “Caught Up in Your Love,” “Ordinary People,” “So High” and, for his encore, his first No. 1, the inescapable smash “All of Me.”

The evening ended appropriately with a rousing standing ovation, with Legend’s final words, “God bless all of you.”

Thanks to Erik Kabik of Retna for his photo gallery of Legend. Next up for The Chelsea this Labor Day Weekend: Ed Sheeran on Friday and Saturday nights and Keith Urban on Sunday.

Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

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