Questlove x D'Angelo: Brothers In Arms In The City Of Brotherly Love [The Philly Recap]
Questlove and D'Angelo took the stage last night in Philadelphia to write the next chapter in the story of a town steeped in history. The birth of this nation began in earnest with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 - an historic occasion that will never be duplicated. On July 3rd at the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, two men took the stage and broke through the notoriously tough exterior of the Philly crowd to break new ground with a once in a lifetime performance that proved the power of the players and signaled an emphatic return to the funk through a convergence of sounds that paid homage to the time-honored traditions of black music, channeling Muddy Waters, Prince and P-Funk before dropping the gloves on the canvas to take the crowd to church. D hit the stage a little past midnight to deliver a mix of soul classics and joints from the chicken-grease canon, peppered with new material that played like he never left. Touching everything from "Brown Sugar" to Bobby Womack, Questo and D delivered a set anchored by a soul-snatching funk that could push the tightest-sown wig back. The pair dedicated the undeniable thump to their Soulquarian brothers James Poyser and J Dilla - a man whose impact was summed up in a short anecdote from Quest:
"I remember D called long distance from Munich to play a 30-second clip on his answering machine. It changed our lives!"
They dropped those dirty drums from "The Fantastic" by Slum Village and leaned into Prince's "Pop Life" with the entire crowd on backing vocals. Questo and D lent wings to "Our Love" before giving the crowd a taste of the new D with "Really Love." D'Angelo communed with the capacity crowd over a refrain that spoke volumes as he crooned "Tell Me If You Still Care." The request was sincere and the love was absolutely mutual. This was the moment the room had been waiting for. Over a decade since his last full-length release, D'Angelo fans are beginning to understand that patience is indeed a virtue. Leading an electric revival, D'Angelo baptized the crowd with a liberation song as The Roots joined him onstage for "Lady" - a transformative performance that washed away the past and made every last agonizing second of the twelve-year wait for his return totally worth it. Philadelphia is a town where crowds don't readily rise to their feet and they certainly don't shake the floorboards to demand an encore. All of that changed last night. D'Angelo and ?uestlove left their mark on our hearts in permanent ink. They are the new super heroes. They are the brothers in arms. (Full photo gallery to come!)