Stevie Wonder funks Brum on final night of European tour
Soul legend Stevie Wonder ended his European tour in Birmingham last night in infectiously good humour.
Wonder returned to the NIA, where he kicked off the tour last month, and turned in another remarkable two-and-half hour show.
As his band gathered around him front of stage before the final number, "As," the 58-year-old was cracking jokes and giggling like a "litte nappy headed boy."
Wonder ended this leg of the world tour the way he started it with a ringing endorsement of Barack Obama.
The multi-Grammy winning star wove a reference to Obama into his hit "Master Blaster" on the first night of his tour, in Birmingham, back in September.
Returning to the National Indoor Arena on Saturday, Wonder told the audience he would be voting for the Democratic contender on November 4 in the spirit of world peace, love and "positivity." Really, I don't know what the guy is playing at - if Wonder stood for president he'd be a shoe in. Still, maybe he's happy being the president of your soul, which is fine by me.
The evening included "positivity" by the bucket load. Where there was dark introspection at the NIA in September over the death of his dear mother, Lula, Wonder seems to have used the experience of getting back on the road to work through his grief. On Saturday night, Wonder was like a son born again and encouraged the audience to give praise for his mum - who inspired the hit "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" - by shouting to the heavens: "We love you mamma Lula!"
There were minor set changes from the last NIA dates. This time round Wonder included "Lately," a surprise "I Can't Help It," written for Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" album, and an exquisite, full-on goosebump version of "You and I" from "Talking Book." The singer's voice may have lost some of the purity that he brought to the number back in '72 but the richness of the delivery and the keyboard playing was just stunning. Incomparable.
Then there was the funky stuff, like "Superstition," which created nigh-on bedlam among the audience. Rarely have so many white folk got down in such numbers.
Wonder now heads to Australia. I wish I could be there. Maybe the Aussie tourist board will take pity on a poor cobber from the old country and fly me over. A man's gotta have a dream.