Sugar and Spice – Sade at the ACC Toronto

Stronger Than Pride

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Her vocal range – dark chocolate base tones blended with caramelized sugar top notes – is the closest thing to a human equivalent of a saxophone/clarinet/flute – all of which featured heavily during her show. An exotic mix of Nigerian and English, this is the reclusive and enigmatic Sade; a perfection of ice Queen cool and spa like serenity. She is the most successful solo female artist Britain has ever produced selling over 50m albums in a career that has spanned almost 30 years. It has been eleven years since the release of her last album “Lovers Rock” ( 2000)

The show began with the sound that I’ve come (via MASH) to associate with the Korean war – a whirring of helicopter blades and spotlights fanning out into the audience. This died down as the intro to the powerful “Soldier of Love” ( from the album of the same name and the title of this tour) began. Sade didn’t as much emerge, but strutted up the stairs through an opening in the stage

Head to toe in black with netting top, tight black fatigues and black patent arm shields, the overtone and gestures were appropriately military and echoed in the huge video backdrop featuring silhouetted male dancers. This set the scene for the whole show.

All the video and stills that accompanied every performance, including a stage-shrouding 360% transparent video screen were classy, relevant and expensive looking.

Hold that thought and indulge me whilst I expand a little on the video accompaniments to each song on the set-list. Gorgeous clips including one from the perspective of Sade looking up past summer meadow flowers towards the sky and “frolicking” in a long lime green frock amidst sunlit pastures – clichéd but somehow worked – felt she should have had a puppy or a small child to play with in this.

A cleverly choreographed video including Sade dancing with a particularly supple and duplicated male dancer – again the silhouette theme; original video clips of Sade as a child and including early stage performances. The wrap around video was used to project atmospheric and moody skies; tree branches and endless open roads as she belted out most of her hit songs.

Smooth Operator from Diamond Life – her iconic early 1984 debut album (which went platinum in 1985 on the strength of both this song and “Hang on to Your Love”) was bookended with a Cagney themed New York/Chicago light show and the wind section of her orchestra were all separately pooled in the spotlights with the rest of the band either dressed in or spotlit as grey toned to enhance the film noir theme.

And the clothes and dresses!! – a black tailored man’s suit and white shirt; a gorgeous white floaty dress and a formal red fitted gown – these last costumes worn with bare feet – to name but a few. Hard to imagine she’s 52 – with her trademark slicked back pony tail, rouged lips and large hoop earrings, a look as ageless and classic as she is. Time seems to have made her more beautiful or maybe it’s that she’s one of those rare creatures that has total control of her own life – recording and or performing when she chooses whilst raising her 14-year-old daughter with her ex-marine husband.

Anyway, the show was a smooth stunning visual, instrumental and vocal feast for the whole two and a bit hours she was on. So much gorgeousness I didn’t know which to focus on. She belted out most of her well-known hits and a number from her latest album – Soldier of Love (2010). The set list went something along the lines of the following -” Soldier of Love”; “Your Love is King”; “Skin”; “Kiss of Love”; ” Love is Found”; “In another time”; ” Smooth Operator”; “Jezebel”; “Bring Me Home”; “Is it a Crime”; “Love is Stronger than Pride”; “Paradise/Nothing can come between us”; “Morning Bird”; “King of Sorrow”; “The sweetest taboo”; “Moon and Sky”; “Pearls”; “No Ordinary Love”; “By Your side” with an encore of “Cherish”

Remaining Tour Dates: I have only listed few of these – and of course they are subject to change so see Sade’s website for exact line-up

Jul. 2, 2011 Trump Taj Mahal – Mark Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

Jul. 3, 2011 Mohegan Sun Arena-CT

Jul. 6, 2011 TD Garden

Jul. 8, 2011 Conseco Fieldhouse

Jul. 9, 2011 Quicken Loans Arena

Jul. 10, 2011 Schottenstein Center

Jul. 12, 2011 Philips Arena
Atlanta, GA

Jul. 13, 2011 Philips Arena
Atlanta, GA

Jul. 15, 2011 Bank Atlantic Center
Fort Lauderdale,FL

Jul. 16, 2011 American Airlines Arena – FL

Jul. 17, 2011 Amway Center

Jul. 22, 2011 New Orleans Arena
New Orleans,LA

Jul. 23, 2011 Toyota Center – TX

Jul. 24, 2011 American Airlines Center – TX

Jul. 26, 2011 Sprint Center
Kansas City, MO

Jul. 28, 2011 Scottdale Center
Saint Louis, MO

Jul. 29, 2011 FedEx Forum
Memphis, TN

Jul. 31, 2011 Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, NC

August 3, 2011
Palace Of Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills MI

August 5, 2011
United Center
Chicago IL

August 6, 2011
United Center
Chicago IL

August 7, 2011 – with John Legend
United Center
Chicago IL

August 9, 2011 – with John Legend
Target Center
Minneapolis MN

August 11, 2011 – with John Legend
Pepsi Center
Denver CO

August 13, 2011 – with John Legend
Rogers Arena
Vancouver BC

August 14, 2011
Key Arena
Seattle WA

August 15, 2011 – with John Legend
Rose Garden Arena
Portland OR

August 17, 2011 – with John Legend
Power Balance Pavilion
Sacramento CA

August 19, 2011
Staples Center
Los Angeles CA

August 20, 2011
Staples Center
Los Angeles CA

August 21, 2011 – with John Legend
Staples Center
Los Angeles CA

August 23, 2011 – with John Legend
Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre – CA
Chula Vista CA

August 25, 2011 HP Pavilion at San Jose
San Jose CA

August 26, 2011 – with John Legend ORACLE Arena
Oakland CA

August 27, 2011 ORACLE Arena
Oakland CA

August 30, 2011 Honda Center
Anaheim CA

August 31, 2011 – with John Legend Honda Center
Anaheim CA

September 2, 2011 –with John Legend
US Airways Center
Phoenix AZ

September 3, 2011 – with John Legend
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas NV

Over and Out


2 thoughts on “Sugar and Spice – Sade at the ACC Toronto

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