Alicia Keys Saturday night at Seattle’s WaMu Theatre.
"Superwoman?" Yeah, I’ll buy that; especially after R&B sensation Alicia Keys delivered one of the most triumphant performances I’ve seen this year Saturday night at Seattle’s WaMu Theatre. Forget that demure piano woman you might have seen on television. When she made her entrance, Keys was a fierce diva, more along the lines of Beyonce, minus the shimmery dress. And she was all sass and hip-swiveling sensuality during an early set that included smash "You Don’t Know My Name."
But don’t get the impression that she neglected her instrument of choice for too long. "Is it OK with y’all if I play my piano for you," she asked coyly a few songs into the show. Of course, the crowd roared its approval as she sat down to a black Yamaha that shifted and rotated into different positions throughout the performance.
Piano highlights included an epic, jazzy riff on Prince’s "How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore," with members of Keys’ 10-piece band firing up the crowd with a series of flashy vocal and instrumental solos. Then Keys dedicated feminist anthem "Superwoman" — a song she said she wrote at a time when she lacked encouragement – to "all my superwomen in the house, and all my supermen that can recognize a superwoman." Jermaine Paul, one of Keys backup singers, stepped up impressively during duets of "Diary" and a cover of the Force M.D.’s ’80s hit "Tender Love." (Man, that one took me back, y’all.) But none of that compared to how Keys’ "No One" galvanized fans for the big finale. You couldn’t help but feel a bit cathartic as hundreds of fans belted out keys soaring chorus, index fingers extended to the ceiling.
[Correction from earlier version of this blog: The opening act was called Novel.]
Keys took some time to strut her stuff before she sat down at the piano Saturday night at the WaMu Theatre.