?The Windy City witnessed a quiet storm of a musical sort, as R&B crooner John Legend’s “Made to Love” tour blew through town on Sunday (Nov. 10). As with every stop on the 27-city jaunt, the adoring fans that packed the Chicago Theater were treated to an intimate, hopelessly romantic presentation of the performer’s amorous chart-topping tunes.
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For most in the crowd, the performance was nothing short of musical bliss. With a set list that relied heavily on Legend’s 2013 album “Love In The Future,” the show lived up to its name and was indeed a celebration of passion. Legend treated the Chicago audience to a satisfyingly diverse set highlighted by standouts like “Let’s Get Lifted,” “All of Me” and “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” as well as surprising covers – including his unique interpretations of Anita Baker’s “Angel” and Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much.”
The night’s mix of old soul and endearing ballads laced with heavenly melodies emotionally aroused the crowd: Legend delivered several tear jerking, sentimental moments throughout the set. His signature 2005 hit “Ordinary People” was clearly the fans’ favorite, as the audience robbed Legend of the song, taking each word hostage.
“The music is sensual and romantic,” said Legend told Billboard before the show, “and the whole concert experience will make people feel the love.”
Earlier in the day, Legend had made a select group of fans feel his love in a completely different way. Legend, in partnership with Samsung Mobile, conducted a sweepstakes offering fans the chance to win tickets to the Chicago show, as well as access to his VIP sound check and meet & greet. While fans at the Verizon Wireless store on Monroe Street picked up their tickets and test-drove the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 device, Legend strolled in at 1PM and awarded one winner with a Galaxy Gear, a backstage pass and a Note 3 of their own, which allowed them to serve as social media correspondent for the show. (Legend’s partnership with Samsung extends to his shows in Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.)
“I always love to surprise my fans,” Legend told Billboard in a statement earlier this month. “I wouldn’t be where I am without their ongoing support, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to meet them in an up close and personal setting like this.”
In order to perform with authority each night, Legend takes great care to relax his voice every day, taking an extended vocal rest and speaking as little as possible before each show. Beyond that, the singer admits to not having any superstitious pre-performance rituals, “unless you count eating the same meal every night,” he reveals, referring to his standard dinner of roasted chicken and vegetables. “I guess that’s kind of odd.”
Legend is touring in support of his fourth studio album, “Love In The Future,” which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 4 in September and has steadily sold in the weeks since, currently sitting at No. 35 in its ninth week on the chart. His 2004 debut, “Get Lifted,” sold more than two million copies and won the singer several Grammys, while 2006 follow-up went platinum and brought an additional Grammy trophy. 2008’s “Evolver” featured the hit “Green Light” with Andre 3000, and 2010 collaborative album “Wake Up!” with the Roots earned another three Grammy Awards for Legend.
With international touring to South America, Africa and Asia scheduled for next year, 2014 is gearing up to be an eventful one for the Ohio-born entertainer. For fans craving a more intimate show, a North American “unplugged” tour is also slated for next year, while a collaborative tour with Alicia Keys will arrive in Australia and New Zealand in December.