It wasn’t long ago I stumbled upon Raphael Saadiq – a 21st century soul sensation with class and style. As predicted, his The Way I See It – a heartfelt soul meets Motown record – from last year, has stood up so far, like a great, timeless soul record should. Chicago is fortunate enough Thursday to experience this showman at Park West – to me, a venue that exudes class and has never shown me a less than classic show. I can only assume Raphael will bring his most vital qualities to this gig, as he confessed recently to Greg Kot:
“The Way I See It” is filled with Saadiq’s homages to the music he grew up listening to: ‘60s and ‘70s soul and R&B. He plays most of the instruments himself, and the music has a snap, style and sincerity he associates with those eras – qualities that he feels are largely missing from today’s music.
Live, Saadiq looks to be supported by a Funk Brothers like group, a vixen backup singer, and an enthusiasm to ignite the room; the aura surrounding the stage makes you smile and realize everything is all right.
Who knows; maybe he’ll even take us back.