John Legend @ Apollo
HOME REVIEWS    

You would probably expect someone who changes their surname to 'Legend' to be a bit arrogant, but thankfully John Legend showed no such tendencies in this warm and inviting show at a packed Apollo. Not that it made any difference to the adoring crowd, most of whom seem already convinced of his legendary status.

John Legend

Having established himself in the 'industry' with a number of cameo appearances on various soul and hip-hop hits (which he helpfully demonstrated for us partway through the show), Legend is now certainly a star in his own right.

After a funky set from UK star Estelle (who returned later on to duet with the headliner), the crowd were invited to 'make some noise!', a demand that never seems to work properly on the first attempt and always requires a second go.

When Legend strolled confidently onto the stage, there were plenty of noise, which he lapped up with a cheeky grin and a swagger, launching into Let's Get Lifted, from his platinum-selling album of almost the same name. It's not the strongest start to a gig, with his piano-playing initially seeming a bit off-set from the rest of the band.

The pacier and more upbeat Alright is much better, as is Used To Love U, with Legend successfully getting the Apollo crowd to sing along on demand. He then launches into a couple of songs based around his favourite theme - cheating - with She Don't Have To Know leading into current single Number One.

After apologising for the subject matter, he does a more-than-passable impersonation of Snoop Dogg before performing I Can Change. However good most of the tracks from his debut album are, the problem with any gig like this is that there just aren't enough of them, so Legend has to fill some time with covers of tracks like Let's Do It Again and Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.

Both are performed pretty well, but leave most of the crowd baffled and noticeably quiet. They are hushed again when he unveils a brand new song called Again, which seems to also have his fatalistic take on relationships running through it, though with just his piano accompanying his vocals, it sounds very good.

He's alone on stage again for smash hit Ordinary People, but has practically everyone singing along with him to one of the year's best songs. For about the hundredth time of the night, he informs us that we sound beautiful. While his stage patter could do with some work and he could do with a few more songs under his belt, this is one Legend in the making.