Maxwell made a triumphant return to Brooklyn at the newly opened Brooklyn Amphitheatre at Coney Island on Saturday July 9 and by the end of his set – all he needed was to be carried off stage on a throne having been crowned Renaissance Soul Man by adoring fans!
The show was a mixture of old and new, featuring music from his just released second album from the trilogy blackSUMMERSnight, the first album BLACKsummersnight was released to critical acclaim in 2009. Fans waited seven years for the highly anticipated follow up. This album is his fourth studio production and Maxwell dedicated it to all his married friends. It’s almost as though he’d taken the 20 years from the release of his first album Urban Hang Suite to learn the lessons of love which are captured on this album. He revealed personal insights in his relationship trials and the fans roared appreciatively when he confessed to being in a good place – being in a loving relationship.
Starting off with a rousing rendition of Kiss in a nod to Prince continued a pleasing mix of the ‘old’ with the hit song Dance with Me from his first album. With a nod to the mood of the country right now, clips from the civil rights era, images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela played across the jumbo screens on stage and either side of the amphitheatre. Maxwell’s statement in support of #BlackLivesMatter together with a plea for all of us to respect and love each other was a fitting accompaniment.
Impeccably dressed in a body-hugging powder blue suit, white shirt and pencil thin tie, Mr. Soul himself delivered both vocally and visually. Reminiscent of the revered crooners of old, Sam Cook, Marvin Gaye and Sade, Maxwell has not veered from his meticulous presentation of beautiful lyrics and vocals.
From the haunting This Woman’s Work to the classic dance track Ascension, with Lifetime, Sumthin Sumthin, Get to Know Ya, Bad Habits and the recent release from his new album Lake by the Ocean, he delighted the crowd with the purity of his delivery. Playful banter between songs, endeared him even more to the predominately Brooklyn crowd. Maxwell’s a Brooklyn boy too and he made mention of that several times, even referring to his rides on the “J” train. Whether or not you were raised in Brooklyn, you felt you were part of the family as each Borough got their Maxwell shout out.
He returned to his Prince memorial with a heartfelt and emotional “Nothing Compares to You”, customizing the lyrics to mark the days and hours since the passing of His Purple Highness. The crowd sang along word for word with the chorus and intermittent shouts of “We Miss You” blended with Maxwell’s mournful tone.
Backed by a competent band, each member got a solo moment which was rewarded with shouts, claps and cheers
Playing to a capacity crowd, Maxwell, came, saw and conquered.