Sade @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 12.12.11
It’s sumptuous, sophisticated, sleek.
There is net curtain in front of the main stage upon which films – cars driving through forests, Sade writhing ecstatically – are projected. My row is about 10 from the front, and I’ve got to say that the lady looks a lot better at her age than I do at mine. Hours pass like they’re scant minutes. Minutes pass in the eye of a dream. There’s almost too much to look at. I’ve never liked saxophone the way it’s played in Sade’s band yet I’ve never liked it as much as I do tonight. Centre-stage. The fellow who looks like he’s been looking at too many clips of Tom Waits on bass is something special as well. It’s (shrugs) Sade all the way, though. You don’t want to blink or look anywhere else. Every line matters. Every line matters.
The first song is ‘Soldier Of Love’. Militaristic, Sade cocking a gun and a welcoming smile. Man, it’s been about 20 years since I last felt as sophisticated as I do in her reflected beauty tonight, and this is in the company of bogans wearing shorts and office heels. The lady in the next next to mine can’t stop laughing. The ladies in the row behind can’t stop chatting. The lady two rows in front can’t stop squealing, “We love you [fill in band-member’s name]. Us neither. Last time we felt this special was when that princess came here in ’57. And we don’t even like royalty.
Next is ‘Your Love Is King’. Our row has a better view than this. She is right in front of us. This matters. I don’t believe the ponytail is real.
‘Skin’ next. Not too familiar with this one. ‘Tis OK though. I’m still in a state of shock at being in such close proximity to such regal grace.
‘Kiss Of Life’ next. Sade grew up in Holland-On-Sea, Essex – where my family would go on holiday every year, house swap. It was the same period of time. Perhaps we shared buckets and drew lines together in the sand?
‘Love Is Found’ (this clip is from Milan, 2011). I believe Brisbane might have been the final date on the world tour. Certainly, there are many hugs towards the end, and ribald laughter. It sort of makes us feel special. There’s nothing like royalty praising royalty. This song is astonishing, intense. The sort of music you imagine Bjork makes in her nightmares.
‘In Another Time’ (this clip is from San Jose, 2011). I remember there being more visual special effects than this … but it might have been another song.
‘Smooth Operator’. The video below captures it. I’d use the word ‘elegant’ here ‘cept I’m worried I’m being clumsy in doing so.
‘Bring Me Home’. (I can’t help but notice we seem to be lacking video documentation on the newer songs. C’mon Brisbane Sade fans! Lighten up. It’s all good. It’s all Sade.) Another one with judicious use of dry ice, laser beams and the net curtain.
‘Is It A Crime’ (this clip is from the iZod Centre, 2011). A personal favourite, for the lyrics alone. Tonight, she is – you understand – singing them direct to me and me alone. Yes, my heart is palpitating and my pulse is beating fast.
This may come
This may come as some surprise
But I miss you
Is it a crime? Is it a crime?
That I still want you
And I want you to want me
‘Love Is Stronger Than Pride’. I am still lost within my seven rooms of swoon.
‘All About Our Love’. I’d like to mention the so-cute, so-believable between-song introductions Sade does, when she wails how she’d so like to carry every last one home with us … if ever a man was driven to jealousy it is now. How can she be so indiscriminate?! The YouTube setlist for this video has it placed under Lovers Rock. They’ve got that right.
‘Paradise’. This is where the band rocks out. Believe me when I say I abhor bands that rock out like this, except. Except. EXCEPT!! I love every last barren second of this. (The clip is from the 90s.)
‘Nothing Can Come Between Us’. See comments in paragraph above. I want to use the word ‘hinterland’ here.
‘Morning Bird’. New song (from Soldier Of Love, 2010). More visual fire and slow, slow heart-pain.
‘King Of Sorrow’ (clip from Hamburg, 2011). “I didn’t know she used to have freckles,” exclaims one devotee. “She’s even sexier!”
‘The Sweetest Taboo’. At some point, she comes out dressed in one of THOSE DRESSES. omgomgomgomgomg etc. The band performs an elongated jam/whoop-the-crowd up, enlivened by one of the male backing songs asking, “How you doing Sydney”, to the obvious hilarity of everyone else on stage. It’s covered for, very nicely.
‘The Moon & The Sky’ (this clip from Greensboro, NC). Nothing can come between us now. Really.
‘Pearls’. She dances. She embraces. She sings. Yes, she really can sing.
‘No Ordinary Love’ (this clip from London, 2011). And no ordinary wind machine, either. Yes, it really is this incredible.
‘By Your Side’ (this clip from Boston, 2011). Wow. Even with the band introductions and teary public farewells, wow.
ENCORE. ‘Cherish The Day’.
Photography: I’m Just Saying