• Jay Jacobson

Stevie Wonder and Luciano Pavarotti

Last night I saw Stevie Wonder in concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. What an incredible artist! He is one of the artists whose albums I would play over and OVER as a kid. “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” was a favorite, and “Songs in the Key of Life” is probably one of the most influential albums in my life.

I must say, I was a bit worried before the show that his voice would not be as great as it was when I saw him in concert back in the 1980’s (I’m guessing he is in his sixties now). But his voice was as clear and beautiful as ever! It just proves that if you sing properly, you can have a great voice for years! And what a show! He sang so many of my favorites: “Golden Lady”, “Higher Ground”, “Blame It on the Sun”, “You and I”, “Another Star”, and a GORGEOUS and moving version of “Visions”. It was slow and heartfelt, and simply beautiful. He sang so many of his old songs – “Love’s in Need of Love Today”, “Superstition”, “Isn’t She Lovely”, “I Wish”, “Sir Duke”, “You are the Sunshine of My Life”, “My Cherie Amour”, “Lately”, “Ribbon in the Sky” and so many more! He even sang “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” followed by a country version of it!! He was so free with his vocal delivery – singing and playing around and having a joyous time. It was infectious.

Beyond the vocals and unbelievable songwriting, I’d forgotten what an incredible musician he is. His piano playing is impeccable, and when he played the harmonica, it sent chills down my spine. I’m not really wanting to do concert reviews here, but I feel I must jot down some of what I experienced last night so I can read it in the future and remember it. What a blessing to be graced by such genius.

And then on the opposite scale of emotion, how sad and shocking to learn of Luciano Pavarotti’s death when I got home. As my vocal teacher said this morning, it will probably be a hundred years before we have another voice like his. Aside from the loss, it is so wonderful there are so many great artists in the world. Each one has a uniqueness that taps into a greater human experience. And we are so lucky we have the technology to capture their gifts forever – so we can relive that experience again and again.

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