I saw Sade in Brisbane on 12 December 2011 returning after 24 years – it wasn’t anything but a ‘smooth operation.’
My fabulous company at the gig Mr Black Cat summed the concert up in one word: ‘perfection.’
I dedicate this review post to my loving partner Mr Fancye who couldn’t be at this concert which was most unfortunate as he is a very big Sade fan. If it was not for him, I would not have even been introduced to the smooth, soulful sound of Sade and for that, I will always be grateful. His love truly is king…
The photographs in this review were taken by my beautiful friend, the amazing Miss C who I have spoken about before she has an incredible knack for photography (yet hates being in FRONT of the camera). They were taken of the Sade concert in Melbourne a week before the Brisbane gig. These photos belong to her so if you wish to
How well do you know Sade?
Helen Folasade Adu (52 years) was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her father was Nigerian, a university teacher of economics; her mother Anne was an English nurse. The couple met in London while he was studying at the LSE and moved to Nigeria shortly after getting married. When their daughter was born, nobody locally was prepared to call her by her English name, and a shortened version of Folasade stuck. Then, when she was four, her parents separated, and her mother brought Sade and her elder brother Banji back to England, where they initially lived with their grandparents just outside Colchester, Essex.
She listened to American soul music, particularly the wave led in the 1970’s by artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and Bill Withers. As a teenager, she saw the Jackson 5 at the Rainbow theatre in Finsbury Park, where she worked behind the bar at weekends.
Music was not her first choice as a career. She studied fashion at St Martin’s School Of Art and only began singing after two old school friends with a fledgling group approached her to help them out with the vocals.
For most of the past 20 years, Sade has prioritised her personal life over her professional career, releasing only three studio albums of new material during that period. Her marriage to the Spanish film director Carlos Scola Pliego in 1989; the birth of her daughter in 1996 and her early 21st century move from North London to rural Gloucestershire, where she now lives with a new partner, have consumed much of her time and attention. And quite rightly so. “You can only grow as an artist as long as you allow yourself the time to grow as a person,” Sade says. “We’re all parents, our lives have all moved on. I couldn’t have made Soldier of Love any time before now, and though it’s been a long wait for the fans – and I am sorry about that – I’m incredibly proud of it.” -Sade.com
The sound that is Sade
The universality of Sade’s sound is so unique and has never been replicated by any of the band’s contemporaries. It is a mixture of funk, soul, jazz and graced the presence of lounge bars around the globe in the 1980s and 1990s. The saxophone (aka sexophone), guitar, drums, backing and lead vocals all blend to create this smoothness of sound that soothes my soul. That is why it is so important to see band’s like Sade perform, they are a genre unto their own and I doubt they will return to our shores.
The concert was held at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and it really was the best venue for the show given the stage props which included:
- the white curtains where images were projected;
- the strobe lights;
- large screen with projected imaging of her music videos and film;
- big screens either side of the stage;
and the space for the full band. You really needed a seat further back in the venue (we had seats on the floor towards the back) to take in and appreciate the lighting, imagery, movement, sound and feel of the show/production. The transition of sets was flawless along with her outfit changes, the band thoroughly kept us engaged while Sade was changing. However, it is back up singer suicide screaming ‘how are you Sydney?’ when we are Brisbane. Awkard. To make it worse he sung this in the track, “Nothing Can Come Between Us” ah sir, addressing your audience with the wrong city name, most definitely can.
The tickets I bought were an absolute steal at two-for-the price of one in the Gold section.
The crowd as predicted were predominantly couples and older people (Generation X and Baby Boomers) – the group Sade released most of their chart topping tracks in the 1980s and 1990s. I saw a few children at the concert which was bizarre the only reason for their presence would be that they were conceived to the smooth sexy sounds of Sade? I’m just saying…
The Sade effect
The sounds of Sade have spanned three whole decades and her sound is appealing to all generations (even if young people don’t yet realise it’s sexy time music, let’s be real here people). When I looked around the crowd at her fans as the night progressed, I saw both men and women relax and start swaying, and really vibing and chilling out to the sound, I love how music has that effect on people. When Sade sung the last line and note on, “Is It A Crime” I got chills all over my body and goosebumps. Goosebumps = absolutely moved.
Let me say this, Miss Sade does not appear to physically age. Like the saying goes, black doesn’t crack. Her skin still looked youthful, she was fit and trim just like she was in her twenties, her hair and makeup were classically timeless. Red lipstick never looked so good. Damn Sade, how DO you do it girl?
Below are photos depicting her stage outfits:
The set lasted just over two hours, the band performing a whopping 20 tracks.
- “Soldier Of Love”
- “Your Love Is King”
- “Kiss Of Life”
- “Love Is Found”
- “In Another Time”
- “Smooth Operator”
- “Bring Me Home”
- “Is It A Crime”
- “Nothing Can Come Between Us”
- “All About Our Love”
- “Morning Bird”
- “The Sweetest Taboo”
- “The Moon And The Sky”
- “No Ordinary Love”
- “By Your Side”
- “Cherish The Day”
The last track was an encore, the band did their thank you’s and left the stage but the lights didn’t go on. Any seasoned gig go’er KNOWS this means: the show isn’t really over.
Sade was a perfect gig to finish of the year of 2011. My last gig was Janet Jackson in November which I reviewed HERE and I thought she was off the chain. There is something that I truly love about watching grown, mature and experienced veteran musicians perform. They aren’t so hell bent on proving themselves to anyone or appeasing record executives with a gimmicky image. They just sing.
Sade is a goddess. She has a quiet confidence and beauty, she is sultry, sensual, has a husky voice and speaks very little. She speaks even less about her personal life something very rare in this generation of younger musicians who fall trap to exposing themselves on a reality TV show, creating a brand and ‘making that dollar, dollar bill y’all.’
The sets on stage, the choice of imagery (using a lot of landscapes) were so tastefully done and befitting of the tracks. I have never seen the white curtains used in such a clever and unique way of overlaying imagery paired with sound it heightened the sensory augasmic (translation eargasmic) experience that is Sade. There was incredible attention to detail paid in the show and it was most definitely appreciated by gig tarts like me and Sade’s Brisbane fan base.
If you missed out on seeing Sade, I feel really sorry for you because it was truly an iconic and epic performance from one of the most unique bands of all time. This is a bucket list entry.
Check out more photos of Sade in concert below:
Did you go to see Sade on her world tour? What did you think of her in concert?