Dressed in a black blazer and black satin shorts that showed off her shapely legs, Ledisi opened with the uptempo “Raise Up.” As she sang, she danced around the stage with enough energy to exhaust most performers.
By CHRIS BOURNEA
Ledisi brought her world tour to the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus on Nov. 22. Ledisi showed fans who packed the nearly sold-out, 550-seat venue that she not only has the pipes but the showmanship as well to command the stage.
Before Ledisi took the stage, opening act Avery Sunshine wowed the crowd with a mix of original songs such as “All In My Head” and “Blessin’ Me” and cover tunes such as D’Angelo’s “Lady” and Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love.” The talented singer/keyboardist got the Lincoln crowd’s energy level up and served as a perfect introduction to Ledisi.
Dressed in a black blazer and black satin shorts that showed off her shapely legs, Ledisi opened with the uptempo “Raise Up.” As she sang, she danced around the stage with enough energy to exhaust most performers. She is definitely not a flat-footed singer. While she doesn’t perform choreographed routines like Janet Jackson, Ledisi does glide across the stage in stiletto heels like Tina Turner. In fact, Ledisi’s legs could become an asset in the way that Tina’s have become her trademark.
Ledisi was backed by a five-piece band that included a keyboardist/musical director, guitarist, bassist, drummer and keyboardist as well as two background singers. Ledisi and her band turned in a 90-minute set that showcased the budding diva’s diverse sound, which combines elements of old-school soul, contemporary R&B, blues, jazz and even rock.
“I’m from New Orleans,” she told the audience. “We do music like jambalaya.”
Ledisi’s sound is definitely like a big pot of jambalaya – or more like gumbo, with so many different interesting ingredients mixed in. From the reggae-flavored “Simple” to the rock-tinged “Knockin’” to the gospel-flavored “Bravo,” Ledisi is a versatile artist who can deliver almost any form of music.
Ledisi closed the show with the title track to her latest album, “Pieces of Me.” The song accurately describes how Ledisi’s music and image are mosaics of many different influences, including but not limited to Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan and Patti LaBelle.
It would have been great to see Ledisi perform a cover tune from one of the divas who paved the way for her. Since she’s from New Orleans, it would have been interesting to hear her take on LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade.” While Ledisi is undoubtedly a product of her influences, she is a 100 percent original.