Monday, June 23, 2008

Stevie Wonder @ Comcast Center, Sunday 6/22

First of all, how the hell did this not get any press in Boston? (Okay, there was one puff piece in the Globe) It's Stevie Wonder, dammit, who last year, in the eyes of Boston's senior rock critic, "delivered one of the finest evenings of music this writer has had the pleasure to attend." Who's barely toured since I was ten. Who... anyway, had Darcy not blogged about it (great links here, btw), I would've missed it entirely. Thankfully, we braved the perils of Route 140 (Comcast is the old Great Woods, a nice facility with good sound and only one one lane road in and out. Sigh.) Here are the Globe and (crappy) Herald reviews.

There's not a ton I can add to Darcy's review- the show was only (only!) two hours and change, with any possibility for an encore stuffed by the obligatory guest singing radio contest winner. (who, thankfully, did NOT sing "I Just Called", opting for a somewhat frazzled medley of "Living for the City" and "Superstitious".) Stevie came out and chatted for a few minutes, mostly about the Celtics and their recent success. Stevie is a big Lakers fan, so this was very generous, or maybe just wise. The pacing of the show was also still a little ragged- after blowing the doors off at the beginning of the show, the middle sagged with too many ballads in a row- the bathroom lines suddenly got longer. At the end though, he lit the place on fire at the end with a run of "Superstitious", "Sir Duke", "I Wish" and "Do I Do". (I still can't get past the video for the last one.) And given how tight the band is now, the thought of what they'll sound like on the back end of this tour is pretty mind-blowing. The band, while seemingly bloated at thirteen players, never played like it- the balance, both in volume and density was mostly perfect.

Nitpicking- I could've used even more harmonica, especially after, on "Spain", Stevie blew everyone out of the water with his short harp solo. And I would've loved to see "As" and "Overjoyed" on the menu, but with a catalog as big as his, that's whining. If you can get to it, go now.


DJA said...

Glad you got to see it. I agree it's kind of stunning how supple and light the band feels, given its size -- but everything is locked in tight, with no room for off-the-reservation wanking.

Ray said...

Excellent review! I couldn't agree with you more about the pacing - a great show overall, but that middle part was truly painful. I just put up a review on my blog that said basically the same thing, but maybe you could help with the setlist: two songs I didn't know, one the long instrumental and another. Maybe one was the "Spain" you mention?


pat said...


The instrumental was "Spain", complete with the introdcution. Didn't catch what key it was in...