John Legend Royal Albert Hall

An Evening with John Legend – Royal Albert Hall

An Evening with John Legend – Royal Albert Hall

Adam Davidson reviews John Legend’s spellbinding performance in a night to remember at London’s Royal Albert Hall

With 12 Grammys, over 5 million albums sold and a recipient of the prestigious EGOT awards, John Legend has a list of achievements and accolades that any artist would be envious of. It is therefore easy to understand why fans old and young came out to see the iconic artist perform live at Royal Albert Hall.

Some performers are made for certain venues and a concert hall as iconic as the Royal Albert Hall, famed for its acoustics, is the perfect fit for someone with a voice as rich and soulful as John Legend.

The artist came out to huge applause. There were no backing vocalists or band- just a man and his piano. As soon as Legend started singing Save Room, the applause turned to complete and utter silence as people were blown away by his flawless voice. A truly remarkable moment and a shock to the system.

It was a unique experience, a concert with a difference. Legend would perform songs but intertwined them with stories about his upbringing, his career and his life, it was almost like a theatrical musical. He was such a captivating and endearing storyteller that the 12,000-capacity venue felt like a small jazz bar.

The audience listened intently throughout. When he spoke, reactionary laughter and the occasional gasp aside, you could hear a pin drop.

The stories took us all the way back to church where John Legend started out, although back then he was simply John Stephens. He joined the choir at his church aged 7 and was taught to play the piano by his grandmother, who died when he was young. During the performance, he dedicated a beautiful rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water to her.

The evening took us through family trauma following his Grandmother’s death, academic achievements and moving to Philly and eventually New York. He told stories about how Kanye West shaped his career, how Stevie Wonder performed at his wedding and how he went from John R. Stephens to John Legend.

There was a short intermission halfway through and after the break Legend came out in a new tuxedo and sat down to sing two of the biggest songs of all time, Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark and The Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun. It was an ode to the music he loves as he put his own soulful spin on the classics.

The singer then sang a medley of songs that he wrote for his wife Chrissy Teigen who was in attendance on the night. These included Wonder Woman and his mega-hit All of Me.

First performed 10 years ago at his wedding, All of Me was unsurprisingly one of the highlights of the night as the audience sang softly along and that combined with the smooth tones of Legend made for a great experience to savour.

After spending an evening with John Legend, it encapsulated what a truly great performer and powerful storyteller he is – he had 12,000 hanging onto his every word.