Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
Friday, March 28, 2014 | 11 a.m.
Elegant, charismatic and flawless.
These three words describe singer-songwriter John Legend in look — a white dinner jacket with a white dress shirt, a black skinny tie, black skinny slacks and black dress shoes — and voice — powerful, passionate, strong, sexy and smooth — on Thursday night in his “The All of Me Tour: Intimate, Acoustic and Stripped Down” stop at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
In Legend’s stripped-down acoustic set — he at the piano, plus one guitarist, three violinists and one cellist — he proved that an artist can captivate an audience for nearly 90 minutes without LED screens, dancers and DJs and instead with talent (he’s a master at tickling the ivories), sincerity and soul.
Highlights and high notes:
Legend impressively hit all his high notes, and there were many of them. He uttered only one F-bomb in what otherwise was a profanity-free evening. His cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” was jazzier, darker and absolutely divine.
There were five couples sitting onstage behind him, and he dedicated “You and I (Only in the World”) to Caesar and Samantha, who have been dating for eight months (Samantha wiped away tears). He described Reynolds Hall as “a lovely venue.”
A few quips from Legend, who is a great storyteller:
He said that the couples with the seats onstage had a great point-of-view, but they couldn’t tweet during his show or go to the bathroom. In attaining that first hit, he said that one can never go back. His case in point: Lorde’s “Royals,” in which she sings, “We can never be royals.” But Lorde is rich now!
While introducing “Caught Up in Your Love,” he talked about how it was a special occasion to dine out while growing up in Springfield, Ohio, and that his father’s restaurant of choice was Red Lobster. “My father taught me how to be a gentleman, and that the way to a woman’s heart was with a little … all-you-can-eat shrimp.” He said that the Smith Center was his first concert in Las Vegas that wasn’t in a casino, which drew loud applause.
And a few quibbles that nearly tarnished an otherwise wonderful evening in Reynolds Hall:
Yes, Legend asked for requests on several occasions because he’s a nice guy and appreciates his fans, but it’s not an open invitation to shout at him during the entire performance.
And audience sing-alongs are the only time attendees are allowed to sing. Otherwise, shut it — unless you’re the performer onstage with nine Grammy Award wins and a newlywed wife who is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model (and 2013 cover girl of Vegas Magazine).
Take a lesson from the effortlessly classy Legend and show some class. This is the Smith Center, not your neighborhood karaoke bar.
Thursday night’s setlist, with every song about love: “Made to Love,” “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” “Let’s Get Lifted,” “Used to Love U,” “Stay With You,” “Maxine,” “Again,” “Where Did My Baby Go,” “Save Room,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Green Light” (the evening’s lone up-tempo song), “Good Morning,” “Everybody Knows,” “You and I (Nobody in the World),” “Who Do We Think We Are,” “Caught Up in Your Love,” “So High,” “Ordinary People” and, for his encore, “All of Me,” which ascended to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week and is by far his highest-charting single.
At only age 35, Legend is already a music legend.
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.
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Smith Center for the Performing Arts The Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers a blend of performances by resident companies and touring attractions. The 5-acre cultural campus features three performance spaces, which includes a main performance area with more than 2,000 seats. This downtown cultural center of Las Vegas looks to educate, entertain and excite community members.
To provide and preserve a high-quality performing arts center that is embraced by the community and recognized as a vital force by supporting artistic excellence, education and inspiration for all.
To entertain, educate, enrich and inspire the southern Nevada community.
Thanks to the generous support of our dedicated founders, members, donors and community partners, The Smith Center continues to provide a wide variety of services for Southern Nevada residents, including access to world-class performances, inspirational Education and Outreach programs for students and teachers, and a unique space to host events, meetings and special occasions. Celebrating our fifth season, we depend upon public support to fulfill our mission and serve as the Heart of the Arts® for many years to come.
With ticket sales covering just 75 percent of our operating budget for each season, the remaining 25 percent comes from the community we serve. Philanthropic support at all levels helps provide programming that entertains, educates, enriches and inspires. By giving to The Smith Center, you play a vital role in providing an important resource for our community.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and play a direct role with your community’s performing arts complex. Volunteers engage with staff and patrons to enhance experiences at The Smith Center, and can serve in various capacities including tour guide/docent, usher, security team member or community ambassador. As important members of The Smith Center team, volunteers help us remain financially sustainable and provide numerous services for the community. Please show your support for The Smith Center’s mission by gifting your time and unique skills.
Members’ annual support provides crucial resources for The Smith Center’s artistic programming, education opportunities and cultural enrichment each year. There are a variety of giving options and levels, and Members receive exclusive benefits and behind-the-scenes opportunities based on their level of support. To learn more, please visit www.thesmithcenter.com/support-us/members.
The Encore Society recognizes those generous donors who have included The Smith Center as a part of their estate plan. Corporate Sponsorship is available to companies to underwrite all, or part, of a program, performance or event.
Fanfare! is The Smith Center’s young progressional networking organization, open to anyone with an interest in the performing arts who is between the ages of 21-40. And our Show Dedication allows for the celebration of an individual or special occasion with unique recognition opportunities during a specific performance.
The Smith Center provides world-class performing arts and outreach and education throughout the Southern Nevada region.
The organization originally formed in 1996 as the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Myron G. Martin President and CEO Donald D. Snyder Chairman Dr. Keith Boman Vice Chairman Mark Tratos Secretary Michael Yackira Treasurer David Dunn Alan M. Feldman Richard Haddrill Fred Hipwell Nancy Houssels Todd-Avery Lenahan Scott MacTaggart Jerry Nadal John Nelson Richard Plaster Rory Reid Kim Sinatra Roger P. Thomas
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