Last night I got to scratch another item off of the good ole’ bucket list: I experienced Stevie Wonder live in concert! What made this concert special is that on this tour Stevie is playing his iconic “Songs in the Key of Life” album in its entirety (along with a few other special surprises). My mind is still spinning from the awesome experience. Here are a few lessons I learned from Stevie last night:
Good things still come to those who wait. I’ve waited a lifetime to watch Stevie live and it was worth it. Just like Paul McCartney, Stevie started the show late, but who cares! It was worth every second! There were quite a bit of casual fans who apparently have a lot of expendable income. They basically bolted as soon as the popular songs “I Wish” and “Sir Duke” were over. However, as a student of Stevie’s music, I knew that in order to get to the best stuff (“If It’s Magic, “As”, hit medley etc.) we’d have to go through the “deep cuts”. Life is no different.
When you hate, you block your blessing. Stevie did not open the show with music. He opened it with a movement. He walked out on stage and graciously gave a 5-7 minute “sermon” on the power of God’s love and our need to live in that love everyday. He set the tone for the entire show. The legendary songs (spanning 50 years of hits) only quantified Stevie’s opening talk.
Excuses are for suckers. Being that the concert was in Music City, it was clear from the start that there would be several guest appearances throughout the show. Stevie outplayed his entire band and out sang everyone in the room…including Take 6, BeBe Winans, Steven Tyler, and India Arie. He played 10 minutes of impromptu jazz/funk guitar on a table guitar including McCartney’s classic “Yesterday”, and he started an epic sing-along to MJ’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” The show was almost 3 hours long! Did I mention that he’s 64 years old and BLIND! Are we all called and equipped to be Stevie Wonder? Of course not. However, we ALL have a gift from God. You have a gift. Let go of the excuses and unleash that bad boy on the world. We’re waiting for you!
Keep it real. If you know me than you know this is one of my life sayings. Stevie was FULL of life, love and humor. He could have easily done a 30 minute stand-up set! In fact, even Dave Chapelle showed up at the end of the night! Stevie kept us engaged the whole time. On the flip-side, he shed tears and showed deep emotion several times as he got “caught up” in the lyrics of “Love’s in Need of Love Today”, the social commentary of “Village Ghetto Land”, or the worship of “Joy Inside My Tears”. Plus, it was his daughter’s birthday…the daughter who served as the inspiration for the classic “Isn’t She Lovely.” Stevie took the time to FaceTime his daughter and sing her that song (and “Happy Birthday”). So good. So real.
This was an experience I’ll not soon forget.