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#FiveStars | Songs in the Key of Life Tour

NOVEMBER 25, 2015 by Shelea Music

Stevie Wonder wraps up ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ tour at Madison Square Garden

Stevie Wonder concluded his Songs in the Key of Life performance tour with an epic four hour performance on November 24, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The 25-time Grammy award winner delighted the sold out audience with a tour de force accompanied by 40 musicians and vocalists. He began the show addressing social issues, talking about terrorism, gang violence and irresponsible policemen. “More than ever,” he told the crowd,” “Love’s In Need of Love” today, leading into the first track from his classic 1976 Songs in the Key of Life album. The concert followed the track listing of the Grammy award inning album, moving to “Have A Talk With God, “Village Ghettoland,” and the pulsating jazz-rock instrumental, “Contusion. Then he brought the audience to its feet with the two unforgettable number one singles from the album, “Sir Duke” and “I Wish.” The pace slowed down for a romantic mood with “Knocks Me Off My Feet,” and Wonder discussed the power of music.” People talk about what’s wrong with our kids today,” he commented. “The answer is arts in the schools. We need art is the schools,” he preached. “Tell it to the politicians.”

Following intermission, the “Wonderman” was joined by his protege Andra Day for his holiday classic from 1967, “Someday At Christmas.” He was also greeted on stage by his four youngest children, sons Kailand and Mandla, and daughters Nia and Sophia, He recalled the birth of his oldest child, 39 year old Aisha, and performed the iconic song she inspired, ” Isn’t She Lovely.” The concert also provided a rare opportunity for Wonder to demonstrate his exceptional skills playing harmonica. He amazed the audience with his versatility, performing the jazz standard “Killer Joe,” transitioning into his 1966 classic “Uptight,” then brilliantly weaving together the “Star Spangled Banner” and Negro national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” as the audience stood in a powerful patriotic moment. Speaking to diverse melting pot crowd crowd, Wonder asked the rhetorical question, “Why can’t we come together united in the United States, different races and religions?”

Wonder has always been a pioneer in musical technology, and he mesmerized the crowd with his harpejji, an electric stringed instrument similar to a guitar which is played like a keyboard. In a moment reminiscent of the peace and civil rights movements of the 1960 and 70s, thousands of cell phones illuminated Madison Square Garden as he played the 1965 classic by Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, “People Get Ready.” Returning to the Songs In The Key Of Life album, Wonder introduced “If It’s Magic” with the comment, “What is most magical,” he said, “is love and life itself.” It was indeed a magical moment, as he sung live with the original harp only musical track, then followed with another highlight of the evening that had the crowd standing in appreciation, “As.”

Wonder only faltered briefly when he assumed an alter ego, “DJ Tic Tic Boom,” to display his DJ prowess. He jammed an old school classic from the 80s, “Children’s Story” by Slick Rick, and the disco hit from the 70s,”Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead. However, he recaptured the crowed, spinning “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, then re-assumed his identity for a medley of his classics featuring “Do I Do,” “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and “Higher Ground,” The crowd was in ecstasy, and he took the historic arena even higher with the euphoric “Superstition.” Wonder ended the extravaganza with the plea, “Let’s make this world a better place,” and returning to the theme of love, he urged everyone to, “Tell someone everyday that you love them.”

As the audience basked in the magic of “Wonder,” his words “life” and “love”continued to resonate. The Songs in the Key of Life performance was truly in the “Key of Love.”