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Elements aside, a wondrous
transformation from loss to life

Stevie Wonder
Charter One Pavilion
Chicago, IL
Sept. 11, 2007

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Publicity Photo

On its originally scheduled night at Charter One Pavilion (Monday, September 10), the sold out crowd was situated and Stevie Wonder took the stage to thank them for supporting his area comeback concert. However, with buckets of rain blanketing the Windy City skyline and soaking the stage, the appearance lasted a mere ten seconds to announce the show would be rescheduled for the following evening. Sure enough,Stevie Wonder the stands were packed once again Tuesday, which in spite of a bitter lakefront chill and the September 11th anniversary, didn't discourage the long awaited "A Wonder Summer's Night" tour from officially touching down.

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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