Sade: Bring Me Home - Live 2011

Jeff Winbush By

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Bring Me Home: Live 2011



There is no need for the singer Sade to sucker the fans with this sort of ploy. The Once In A Lifetime tour started in April 2011 and ended nine months later with shows in America, Canada, Europe, South America and Australia—106 shows to 800,000 people grossing over $53 million dollars. The band had not toured in a decade and as devout fan knows it might be ten more years before Sade steps on a stage again. Sade is an artist who feels no need to play the game of make a record, tour to support it, take some time off and go back out on the road until time to do it all over again.

The video and companion CD accurately capture the dazzling audio-visual extravaganza of Sade's lavish stage show. Along with director Sophie Mueller and lighting and production designer Baz Halpin, she has created a dynamic presentation featuring a jumbo LED screen projecting images while the band performs on a stage featuring hydraulic lifts that raise and lower her and the eight musicians and vocalists.

Sade runs 21 of her biggest hits and sings, struts and dances barefoot for two hours. The concert draws heavily from Soldier of Love (Epic, 2010), Sade's first album in ten years and certain songs, "Bring Me Home," "Skin" and "Morning Bird" are improved in the live venue. Sade has never been a bona fide jazz act and "Love Is Found" answers the question, "Does Sade rock?" Yes, she does aided by the guitar attack led by Stuart Matthewman and Ryan Waters.

There has been no noticeable drop off in Sade's voice though it does get husky at points. She has always been more of a stylish stylist who doesn't rely upon sheer volume to overwhelm the listener. The secret weapon is Matthewman's great saxophone stylings, though there isn't a weak link among the instrumentalists.

Sophie Mueller's direction is to keep the cameras on the stage where the action is. There are a few shots of the audience happily applauding and dancing, but the star is the singer. At 53, she is still graceful and poised and has no need to express herself the way Madonna desperately seeks validation that she's still sexy. She conserves her energy for the elaborate show and seldom engages the audience in patter.

The extras include a 20-minute documentary directed by Muller with typical "behind the scenes" shots of Sade looking out the window of her tour bus, applying make-up, changing outfits between songs and singing a pretty version of "Amazing Grace" with her back-up singers. It might be worth a look once, but with no interview with Sade herself, it feels unnecessary as if someone said, "Maybe we ought to throw in something as an extra."

The only real demerit is the obvious reliance upon backing tracks as the military drumming that launches "Soldier of Love;" it sounds suspiciously exactly like the original recording and the string section that joins in on "Pearls" is clearly heard, if not seen.

That quibble aside, Bring Me Home does an exceptional job of capturing the sophisticated pleasures of the two words that delighted thousands of admiring fans around the world: Sade Live.

Running Time: 122 minutes. Extras: 20 minute behind-the-scenes documentary; short technical documentary; crew outtakes.

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