Photos by Lacey Davey.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the sold out crowd of the Sony Centre were treated to just that. I don’t think there is anyone who can spread holiday cheer quite like John Legend, and boy did he have something special up his sleeve to celebrate his Christmas album A Legendary Christmas.
The show began with a video projection of Legend in black and white singing a cover of “The Christmas Song” as the curtains began to rise and the live band began to play, Legend opened up the night live with “What Christmas Means to Me”. The set design for this tour was rather magnificent, between the Christmas tree cutouts in the background and high-rise stages for the singers and musicians; it was quite a cool contrast. It felt very reminiscent of a jazz club in the 60s.
While I anticipated enjoying Christmas themed music all night, Legend made sure to mix it up and bring back some of his most popular songs from his Darkness and Light and Love in the Future albums. The crowd jumped to their feet rather quickly when the first note of “Love Me Now” began. As the words “Because the world needs more humanity, beauty, forgiveness and colour” were displayed in the background, the cheers erupted. For a moment the audience was overwhelmed with a sense of unity.
I don’t think the night truly could be complete without John sitting center stage with his piano. He walked out alone, the curtains to the stage now closed. He belted out “Ordinary People” while his hands played along on the keyboard. It was enough to leave chills on your whole body. John Legend is such a captivating individual with his soulful voice, which is rare in today’s mainstream and his incredible piano playing abilities, he is truly a showman. He brought out one of his amazing background vocalists to cover Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, they’re combined voices soothed the souls of everyone listening.
He got the crowd to their feet “one last time” and performed “Green Light” from his third studio album Evolver and personally one of my favourite songs he has ever written. But ending a Christmas themed show with that particular song meant that there was still more on the horizon.
A quick costume change into a white tuxedo and it was back at the piano alone for probably one of the biggest wedding songs of my generation “All of Me”. This song brought out the tears by people around me, as well as the flashlights to illuminate the theatre. The band and back-up vocalists took their positions one last time, as the horn section kicked in John Legend said goodbye to the sold out crowd in Toronto closing the show with “Merry Merry Christmas”. It was an extremely festive evening that certainly helped kick Christmas into full gear.