While times, technology and music have all changed, the reception Maxwell received during his first public appearances make it seem as though he never left. On a drizzly Saturday night in June, Maxwell performed a seven-song set at the annual conference of the 100 Black Men organization. Women of all ages could barely keep their composure; one even pulled on his leg and stuck her hand out to greet him.
"Fellas," Maxwell joked between songs, "if y'all can't get it together with your lady after you leave this show tonight, you better join the priesthood right quick."
A year ago, he garnered a similar response when he did a surprise performance of "Simply Beautiful" during an Al Green tribute at the BET Awards in Los Angeles.
Last fall he went on his first tour in six years, and although it wasn't supported by any new material, the tour sold out most of its stops.
His performance at the 100 Black Men conference officially launched his tour, which runs from June 20 to August 2. An arena trek in September will mark his first stop at New York's Madison Square Garden.
In between, he will return for this year's BET Awards (June 28) and appear at the Essence Music Fest (July 4). He will also be a guest on "Late Show With David Letterman."
Beyond touring, the first disc of the trilogy will be packed with bonuses to appeal to Maxwell's longtime fans. The deluxe edition of the album, available at most retailers, will include a DVD of a documentary called "Five Days of Black."
Although dates haven't been set, Columbia's Legacy division will release a Maxwell catalog album as well as a DVD-bolstered version of "MTV Unplugged." Online, a remixed version of "Help Somebody" featuring rapper Nas will be available for those who purchase the album on iTunes.
Proving that he's up to date with the times, Maxwell has adopted some of the new formats of marketing, including Twitter and Facebook.
Amid all the re-established glitter and fame, Maxwell still plans to live his life as he chooses -- like an ordinary person. "I know this sounds crazy, but, at the end of the day, I just want to have a house on the hill, some kids and a wife I will never divorce," he says. "It's that simple."