Saw Seal perform awhile back in the Bay Area, and I gotta say, I was impressed. I've broken down the concert into parts, and I'll discuss each here:
Seal has appealed to me since college, when I would "pregame" while listening to Seal and other artists with upbeat songs. I like his songwriting, but it's really his style that pervades even in the covers he does. This was no different at his live concert. I think it was the third song when an extended brass riff led to a silence, broken by his voice: "This is a man's world..."
...and the audience lost it. It was a well-planned and well-executed moment in live entertainment -- something for which I have a great deal of respect.
He performed a bunch of songs that night from his new album, "Soul." I have since downloaded and familiarized myself with it. It's a pretty good album of covers from the soul era in American music. There are alot of safe choices on the album, and it's not exactly as long as I would have expected, but it represents his vocal and musical taste and style well.
The concert was performed by Seal and a band of three. There were video screens behind the four, and multiple platforms for them to perform from and jump on and off of. Seal's microphone stand was an architecturally beautiful piece of curved metal. What most struck me, though, was Seal's performance. He acted the lyrics more than any other pop artist I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few. One got the impression that the lyrics he wrote were also deeply felt, and that he wanted the audience to come away from the concert with new ammunition to use in the fights for Seal's favorite issues of the day... It's difficult not to be political these days, I suppose. But sometimes correlations between the sixties and now are just too much to think about while you're trying to enjoy a concert.
Seal was dressed neatly: tailored black jeans with a white button-down, striped tie and tailored vest. For his encore, he removed the tie and unbuttoned the buttons of the shirt down to the vest's collar. The sleeves of the shirt were messily rolled throughout. I really liked his outfit, and I've since yearned for the opportunity to wear something similar onstage. It seemed a sensible and comfortable choice for a long live appearance.
As a plus, the seats at the Fox Theater in Oakland were comfortable, and the ticketperson at the bottom of the stairs was negligent at the exact moment I slipped down to the floor to get closer. I spent the second half of the concert about 10 feet from the edge of the stage.