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Story by Andy Argyrakis
Rather than starting with a song, Wonder emerged with daughter Aisha Morris at his side to welcome determined attendees and explain the reason for his twelve year absence from the road. Much of his time was spent in the studio creating the highly anticipated and long delayed A Time To Love, followed by the passing of his mother, though the headliner embarked upon this return as a tribute to her memory.
And there was plenty of life injected into an extremely comprehensive set that covered every imaginable crest of his career, new cuts and jam sessions steeped in positivity. The soulful "Love's in Need of Love Today" set a peace promoting tone as Wonder sat behind a grand piano to simultaneously play and sing. He continued the double duty, also switching to a smaller keyboard for the more funk minded "Higher Ground" and the R&B sing-a-long "Ribbon in the Sky."
The mood turned jazzy for a gorgeous take on "Overjoyed," followed by the recent duet with his daughter "How Will I Know" (not to be confused with the Whitney Houston track of the same name). Additional originality came at the hands of early Motown trendsetters "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," the latter of which was reprised as a country and western ballad, complete with Wonder's stab at a southern drawl.
As the event reached its third hour, the headliner turned incredibly spontaneous, starting out with a percussion-heavy version of "Part-Time Lover" and suddenly switching gears for the golden oldie "Hey Love." "I Just Called To Say I Love You" sounded just as sweet as ever, while "Superstition" got the sightless star so excited he stood and sang a few lines from his piano bench. Yet the experience closed in signature Stevie style with a spoken word message to "unite in spiritual love so we can all change the world." Regardless of religion, this show served as an inspiring starting point towards the lofty task and concurrent reminder why Wonder remains one of the foremost musical innovators in history.
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