D'Angelo & The Vanguard photographed at Best Buy Theater by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot + Okayplayer
D'Angelo & The Vanguard photographed at Best Buy Theater by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot + Okayplayer

D'Angelo Closes Out 'Second Coming' Tour w/ An Electric Show At Best Buy Theater... & Announces Exclusive SXSW Show! [Photos + Recap]

D'Angelo & The Vanguard photographed at Best Buy Theater by Vickey Ford for Sneakshot + Okayplayer

Wednesday night, March 11th, just before the clock hit 10, an anxious and already sweating audience awaiting D'Angelo's colossal revue at Best Buy Theater, had began to fear the worst. After having J Dilla's Donuts and Welcome 2 Detroit on repeat for what must have been two hours prior, it was safe to say that we were all ready for funk's great redeemer to take it to the stage and begin his prized sermon. Then as we crept up to the 11th hour of the day, the lights faded to black and a fiery pastor's vocal began to roar over the PA, commencing a full throttle exposition of his entire catalogue, leaving no album untouched and even running through a fresh new cover added to the repertoire just the night before.

The opening number ran more like a fluid medley than anything else, blazing through "Prayer," "1000 Deaths," and  "Ain't That Easy" before hitting the very first (of seemingly countless) vamped-out sweet spots. You'll notice the show's structured in a series of movements or phases, if you will, weaving in and out of jams with either swift and seamless transitions or snap-your-neck, wholly abrupt jumps.

Once ATE, takes its course the groove heads down P-Funk lane for a molten, three guitar strut that would have Eddie Hazel and Catfish Collins shaking in their knee-high boots, which is obviously the perfect opportunity to introduce the new crew. And even though the whole room knew each and every one of their names ( if you don't, shame on you, but just in case, that's Pino, Chris, Kendra, Pookie, Jesse, Sharky, Jermaine & Charles) it was a proper unveiling for those that hadn't seen The Vanguard in effect. Introductions didn't take long, capped off with the a brand new interpolation of "Feel Like Making Love," which was easily one of the most unexpected and all-out heady treats of the night.

From there, the evening's cleanest break takes place, as a three-piece string section and flautist makes way to the stage to dulcetly usher in the wedding anthem of the century "Really Love," which had its own haunting tail-end vamp; a candied extension of what D & Co delivered on SNL earlier this year.  "One Mo' Gin" followed and had another one of those epic annexes, that could have been twenty minutes long, but felt like mere moments in the heat of it. Then the night's second surprise set-in after an all-the-way P-funk jam; a spot-on rendition of Heatwave's "Star Of The Story," setting the mood just right for a fiery take on "Brown Sugar," which stitched together versions new and old, cementing the notion that D's compositions age like fine merlot.

"The Charade" came on with a swiftness, casting out its deceptively poignant spell on the crowd, vanquished by the arrival of "Sugah Daddy" or roughly 20-minutes of raunchy, funky ear candy for the d'sciples to try and compute, marking the show's first conclusion. After riotous applause, a whole lot of hooting and hollering and stomping so rigorous, I was surprised we didn't fall through the damn floor, The Vanguard return to the stage with a throwback, jumping into another extended cut, this time taking "Lady" the distance, before the sweet chime-y ring of "Back To The Future" starts creeping into the cut, strutting through both parts in one insanely funky swoop.

As if the sweat wasn't already sticking people's feet to the hardwood, "Left & Right" got an all-the-way-turnt-up treatment opening the floor for the automated swag-machine that is "Chicken Grease," drawing the second set to a close. But that wasn't nearly enough for those in attendance. Once another 15 minutes offstage had transpired, D and the ensemble returned to perform Black Messiah standout "Till It's Done," leading into the show's masterful coupe de grace, none other than the perennial panty-dropper "Untitled," stretched over 15 minutes, with each and every member of the group saying their farewells, before leaving the stage, leaving D alone to cap off the night with a heartwarming salutation and bid for peace across the globe.

And Just like that, after nearly three hours of subterranean lows and god-like highs, the kush smoke settled and the curtains closed, leaving the audience in a hazy stupor. But what remained was the sensation that we had all collectively left our earthly bodies and joined the man on whatever intergalactic plane of funksmanship he had ascended to, never wincing or wearing even remotely throughout the evening.

And though the show was basically a closing ceremony for the legendary Second Coming Tour, it stands as but a peek at what's to come, having announced yet another, ultra-exclusive appearance announced , this time in The Lone Star State for a run at the SXSW crowd this Sunday. Get a taste of the evening's madness in the gallery above and stay tuned for all things D in the weeks and months to come.