Raphael Saadiq Charms Crowd

December 7th, 2009

Raphael Saadiq – Terminal 5 – December 4, 2009

Raphael Saadiq - Terminal 5 - December 4, 2009
Raphael Saadiq and his band delivered some mid-20th century R&B flavor to a packed Terminal 5 on Friday night. Like the Justin Townes Earle of soul singing, Saadiq has a refreshing anachronistic style compared to the normal blend of indie rock usually on display at the venue.

The performance featured a small horn section, two dedicated backup singers, plus an array of guitar, bass and keyboards to round out the rhythm section. Everyone but the drummer and guitarist had microphones, and each song blended abundant vocal arrangements to back Saadiq’s magnetic showmanship. His blend of doo-wop and soul singing was brilliant, all while he pulled off dance moves akin to the singing foursomes of the 1950s and ’60s.

But it was Saadiq’s charm as lead singer that most endeared him to the crowd, which he played off of by entering the stage to an audio clip of Marvin Gaye’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” But Saadiq also knew how to play to his most dedicated followers: During the encore he offered a “Christmas present” by performing a medley of songs by his first band, Tony! Toni! Toné!, including “Lay Your Head on My Pillow” and “It’s Our Anniversary.” —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |