Jessie Ware / Jesse Boykins III Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON, April 4
Published Apr 05, 2015The UK's Jessie Ware has a pretty impressive track record for live shows in Toronto. From her bubbly personality, witty banter and overall killer performances, Ware always goes above and beyond to impress her fans and make the whole room feel like one big happy family. Last night's (April 4) performance at the Danforth Music Hall saw Ware take her live show to stunning new heights with a set that pretty much covered all the hits from Devotion and her latest album, Tough Love, even throwing in a few B-sides along the way.
With a room packed and ready to go even before the show began, the night started off with opening act Jesse Boykins III, a one-man electro-soul powerhouse that immediately filled the room with his energy the second he hit the stage. Dancing wildly as he sang over a backing track, his minimal set-up did not stop him from giving the crowd an amazing show. For his track "B4 The Night Is Thru," Boykins asked that the crowd move left to right with him as he played the song.
This was a pretty easy request to fulfill once the smooth, funked-out beats began to flow over the audience, whose feet continued to move with little instruction. The woozy anthemics of "Losing U" found the crooner's vocals pitched up to the heavens, right before "Wonders" brought him right back into a frenzy of ethereal blips and seamless grooves. The set had no shortage of killer tracks, which made it impossible for the crowd to lose focus, a pretty rare occurrence for an opening act. Boykins' set ended with him in a gold top, delivering one last banger before exiting the stage to a roaring ovation.
Later, as the lights dimmed and a full band appeared playing the intro to "Running," Ware emerged from the flashing lights to push the start button on her climatic 90-minute set. Blue lights washed over the room for "Champagne Kisses," a song that saw Ware's luscious trills echoing through the blinding cerulean shades that cloaked the stage. A few songs in, Ware stopped to greet the crowd, who responded with an abundance of love and positive energy. Noticing a fan from her last show, she told the crowd about him singing "Say You Love Me" to her outside of the venue, a serenade she had him re-enact for the entire room. She praised his performance before the taking the mic back and jumping right into "Tough Love," with spotlights beaming down as the crowd sung every last word with her.
The juggling act between Devotion and Tough Love saw Ware tackle tracks like "Night Light" and "You & I Forever" with such conviction and passion that the song nearly turned into a teary sing-along from a room filled with her biggest admirers. "This is one from the deluxe," said Ware before dropping the sultry B-side "All On You," a song so groovy that even her guitarist broke his stoic pose just to dance along with his fellow bassist on stage.
As the night wound down, and after many request from a fan in the front section, Ware concluded with "Wildest Moments," a definite crowd favourite that found them chanting with so much intensity, that she let the crowd do all the singing for her. With no encore planned, Ware officially put the glorious night to bed with "Say You Love Me," coming into the crowd to give her singing fan one final guest spot.
"Thank you again Toronto! Goodnight! Drizzy call me!" shouted Ware, as she left the stage with the hearts of all who got to witness her triumphant return.