Paul Wellman

Scores of devoted fans filled the ever beautiful Granada Theatre on Tuesday night to watch pop star Seal perform a night of dance hits, signature rhythms, and songs of love onstage at this intimate venue. It was an evening of grooving, easy listening, and several standing ovations.

Watching this enthusiastic and roaring crowd, one might have recalled the impression Elvis made on women in the 1950s as Seal danced seductively-mostly with his hips-to his crowd’s delight, even going so far as to samba to the edge of the stage and hold the hand of an audience member while singing right to her.

The night was mostly typical pop performance fare, with a happily satisfied crowd, quasi-political slide show (featuring hints of leftist opinions on topics such as pollution, social rights, and warfare), and an exaggerated bass/keyboard player whose constant overtones often risked upstaging the headliner himself. Seal covered all of his hits and proved himself to be past his own musical cliche when he played “Kissed from a Rose,” as this trademark song was surprisingly received with less lust than any other he shared that night. This would be a credit to Seal’s career and evidence that his commercial growth has spawned into newer niches, genres, and also fan bases.

The show ended after something that can’t quite be called an encore, but more like an awkward break. The band and Seal exited stage left around 9:25 p.m., despite his music and even singing still pouring through speakers. The stage then stood empty in this way for a number of minutes before drummer, guitarist, keyboard/bassist, and Seal returned for three last songs. Over the course of the night, he played “Crazy” and “Bring It On,” but arguably the best, most invigorating, and passion-filled number of the evening was a cover of Russell Watson’s hit “Vienna” which was remixed to be exquisitely dark and definitely seemed to come out of left field to nearly everyone watching.


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