"Where is he? Where is he?" The question bounced around the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., as Maxwell seekers could hardly contain their desire to see the multi-talented singer-songwriter, record producer and instrumentalist in concert last week (July 3).
Thirty-minutes after a crowd-pleasing performance by Marsha Ambrosius, music blasted and then the lights dimmed as Maxell's slender silhouette pierced through a cloud of smoke. The crowd screamed.
With a tapered haircut and trimmed beard and the audience on its feet, Maxwell opened the show with, "Sumthin' Sumthin'," a 1996 hit from his album, "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite. With the crowd in tow, he eased into "Bad Habits" and other selections from his latest album, "BLACKsummer'snight." At one point, he even asked permission to sing new music, explaining that he didn't want to bore us. The tune was, "Gods," which was well accepted. He repeatedly controlled the band with the use of his hands stretched out behind him.
More hits followed, including "This Woman's Work," and "Fire We make," his latest duet with Alicia Keys, who graced the stage via video. Moving across the stage and onto the floor, Maxwell gyrated his hips with moves à la Prince, with whom he has been compared. The crowd was in an uproar!
Thanking the crowd for supporting him through the years, Maxwell noted that he is from Brooklyn, N.Y. and that Memphis and Mississippi is where the real music got started. He called his band the best, pointing out that it featured Grammy award winning artists that he was pleased had taken the time to travel and work with him.
As his one-hour set moved closer to the end, he wooed us with "Fist full of Tears," "Fortunate" and other hits. He blushed as women on the front row showered him with gifts and screams!
Introducing the band, Maxwell gave a special shout out to Memphis-born horn player, Kenneth Whalum III. After another hit, "Shouldn't I Wouldn't," he exited the stage.
With fans shouting his name, Maxwell returned, telling the audience members that he would sing only if they would sing along. His finale was "Pretty Wings," with the crowd singing along as feathers fell in the background.
Some were disappointed that he didn't sing "Til the Cops Come Knockin'," but overall, the crowed was elated that Maxwell stopped through The Lander's Center en route to his next stop, Essence Festival 2013 in New Orleans.