She says she’s completed. But if final evening was any indication, it might be a travesty if Anita Baker does really retire. Surprise visitor Stevie Wonder echoed that sentiment as Baker closed her second sold-out date (Sept. 13-14) on the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles along with her signature track “Angel.”
“You cannot say goodbye,” a harmonica-wielding Wonder declared to roaring viewers approval. “We want more of you and more of you and more of you. I just want to thank you for the love you’ve given us all this time. More than ever in the world today, we need to make love great again.”
Baker’s two-hour present — the final in her solo, 30-date Farewell Concert Series tour — was certainly a love fest. As her tight six-piece band (“I call them magicians not musicians,” she mentioned) revved up an already anticipatory crowd with a pumped-up rendition of “Lady Marmalade,” the chanteuse herself walked onstage as her trio of feminine vocalists chanted “Hey sister, go sister” to a standing ovation.
That set the tone for the remainder of the night. Baker, rocking a shiny black costume and matching fringed jacket, served up a platter filled with unforgettable gems. She started with “Mystery,” and followed that with “Sweet Love.” In the latter occasion — and once more with “No One in the World,” one other observe from her 1986 album Rapture — the viewers sang the entire track to her first. A beaming Baker embraced the second, saying, “This is your band, so sing it like you do it at home.” Then because the viewers ended its sing-along Baker slyly requested, “Do you want me to sing it now?” because the theater erupted.
It was like being transported again in time. Baker’s sonorous voice has misplaced none of its mesmerizing energy or luster, and the petite dynamo can nonetheless scat and toss out different impromptu riffs like no one’s enterprise. In addition to boisterous sing-alongs, she had followers shouting out “I love you!” and dancing within the aisles to an infectious repertoire that included “Been So Long,” “Caught Up in the Rapture,” “Giving You the Best That I’ve Got” and a jazzy model of “Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year).” For the latter track, the video screens behind and to both facet of the stage confirmed photos of an ‘80s-era Baker video whereby the singer is getting her skate groove on in a curler rink.
Ever aware that the viewers understood how she feels about their assist of her 30-year profession, Baker devoted the track “Priceless” to them. “After tonight this song will have a different meaning for you,” she mentioned. “This is your song now.”
Baker additionally acknowledged youthful disciples of her music peppered all through the viewers. Before accepting a number of bouquets of lilies and roses from varied front-row patrons, she mentioned, “Sounds like some of these shout-outs are coming from my millennials,” she exclamied. “Turn the lights up so I can see where my millennials are at. It’s nice being your Aunty Nita, but we wouldn’t have the millennials without our OG’s!”
After singing one more hit, “Good Love,” Baker shared some attention-grabbing trivia. She had completed recording her 1988 album Giving You the Best That I Got when she first listened to a demo for “Good Love” and determined to report it for the album. “The voice on that demo was Lalah Hathaway,” recalled Baker. “You never know…”
Hathaway, together with Wonder, had shocked the viewers at Baker’s present the night earlier than. Wonder returned the second evening to play his harmonica and sing with Baker on “Angel.” A couple of seconds following his departure, one other shock visitor, Kelly Rowland, hit the stage. After bowing down and paying homage to Baker, Rowland briefly riffed along with her on “Angel” as properly.
Baker stored teasing followers all through the night, sometimes ending a track with a send-off: “Thank you so much. Good night, I’m tired now,” mentioned the 60-year-old with fun. But two encores later, the primary that includes “Fairy Tales” and closing with “Angel,” it was sadly the tip of the evening — and Baker’s final present.
“You and me… here we are again one last time,” Baker informed the viewers throughout an earlier level within the live performance. “I want you to leave in a place of life and joy.”
Speaking of pleasure, as concert-goers reluctantly exited the theater, a number of had been overheard quibbling that the singer hadn’t carried out one significantly beloved observe from the Rapture album, “You Bring Me Joy.” While Baker did convey numerous pleasure final evening — and over the past 30 years — right here’s hoping the singer isn’t actually able to say farewell simply but.