The most anticipated show of the summer finally came as D’Angelo and his new band The Vanguard blew the roof off the Crystal Ballroom. It’s been 15 years since D’Angelo performed in Portland. It was 2000 and he was touring promoting the album Voodoo. I was at that show at the Schnitzer with my friend Jacquie. We ended up in the front row after we saw two empty seats as the show was starting. Who buys front row tickets and don’t show up??? By the 3rd song, fans rushed the stage and I was low key crushed up against the stage. But it was cool. D’Angelo shook my hand. It was worth having sore stomach mucscles the next day. 🙂 His band at the time was the Soultronics which included ?uestlove on drums, Roy Hargrove on trumpet, Spanky Chalmers on guitar, Pino Palladino on bass, James Poysner on keys and Anthony Hamilton on background vocals. And they were bumpin too.
Fast forward 15 years and D’Angelo is touring with his new band “The Vanguard” in support of his latest cd “Black Messiah”. Pino is the only member of the Soultronics that is a member of The Vanguard. But he is not the only vet in the band. Other heavy hitters include Jesse Johnson on guitar, Chris “Daddy” Dave on drums, Isaiah Sharkey on guitar, Kenneth Whalum on sax, Keyon Harrold on trumpet, Joi Gillium on vocals (who recently replaced Kendra Foster), Rodrick Cliche on keys and Jermaine Holmes on vocals. And let me tell you The Vanguard bumps too! Good Lord! I am torn on which band I like better. 🙁
When it was announced that D’Angelo would be performing at the Crystal Ballroom, I knew it was a show that I couldn’t miss. I bought my ticket during the pre-sale. I scheduled my whole morning around buying my ticket at 10 am. Prior to the announcement of the Portland and Seattle show, I’ve seen videos on instagram and youtube. It’s one thing to watch a concert online but it’s nothing like being there live.
A week before the show, I found out I would get a press pass to shoot the show. I had to keep a lid on it but I was so excited. To be able to photograph your favorite artist is a photographer’s dream. I had watched plenty of videos studying the show and checking other photos from the tour just to get an idea of what kind of photos other photographers were taking of them. And looked at photos from the Crystal Ballroom to get an idea what the stage lighting is like. It has been a while since I’ve been to a show at that venue. Believe it was Robert Randolph in 2010.
It was so good to see a lot of friends and family come out and support live music. I really don’t think people knew what they were in for, especially if they didn’t attend the Voodoo tour. Reading comments on instagram, fans were amazed and blown away by the musicianship and stage presence of the band. I can’t believe people actually left before the show ended. D’Angelo performed two encores ending with an extended version of “Untitled. How does it feel?”. Shame on them.
The highlight for me was seeing Jesse Johnson play live and meeting him after the show. I told him the story of how my mom wouldn’t let me attend a Vanity 6, The Time and Prince show when I was 9 with my older cousin. He just laughed and didn’t understand why. I get it, but I am still a little salty about that. 🙂 But to see him perform with one of my favorite artists makes up for just a tad bit.
My cousin and my friends got some shots of me taking photos at the show. 🙂
Here are some images from the concert. And to see to high resolution images, click here.
Check out D’Angelo’s remaining show dates here.