Perhaps one of my greatest achievements was being able to see a Stevie Wonder concert close to my birthday. It was 2007, I was in Pittsburgh, and at the top of my list of things to do before I leave this realm of existence was to my favourite singer live. I tell you, it was an experience I will never ever forget. The music was incredible, his musicianship never wavering despite his many seasons as a performer and musician. His interactions with the audience were at some points hilarious, but more often than not personal and incredibly moving. It was probably the most amazing live experience I’ve had in my short life.
So I can only imagine how the people of Osaka, Japan felt when they were in the presence of his greatness. The concert started bright, song “Dancing to the Rhythm” a beautifully upbeat piece about falling in step with the rhythm of love and adoration one experiences when falling in love for the first time. The concert continued to escalate in precise musicianship and exceptional emotion. His connection with his audience was felt in every member, singing along to his songs, shouting exhalations of praise and adulation. Then, probably the musical highlight of the show, his performance of “Ribbon in the Sky” sent the crowd into raucous fits of energy and love. The performance lasted for almost fifteen minutes, Stevie allowing the message and miracle of the song to take over his senses. It became purely a jam session, a free-form means of expression that completely moved me the first time I heard it.
As such, this concert ranks as one of the most transcendentally magnificent pieces of live music I’ve ever heard.