I’ve been meaning to make it up to my wife for dragging her to see Japanese acid rockers Bo Ningen (a band she just doesn’t understand) at Levitation Austin a couple years ago, so I thought taking her to see Seal might do the trick.
He played at the Four Winds Casino Silver Creek Event Center in New Buffalo, Michigan. The “Silver Creek Event Center,” mind you, is just a big carpeted room the casino can use for everything from a Seal concert to a wedding reception. It is much smaller than the venue map on Ticketmaster’s website makes it appear. I’m happy to say that the acoustics in the place are quite good, however. The whole show sounded great.
Part of that is because Seal is a great performer. It was him, a DJ / synthesizer player, and a guitarist on stage. No drummer. No horn section. No bass player. They didn’t need any of them. Seal opened the set with “Crazy,” his biggest hit here in the U.S., and the crowd was instantly on its feet. His voice hasn’t lost any power since the song was released in 1991, and I loved the way his band turned it into a bit of a dark wave tune with the synth work. “Killer,” another early hit, followed it with even more of a dark wave feel to it with heavy synth bass.
The first track they played from Seal’s new album, 7, was “Daylight Saving,” a gorgeous love song that preceded another from the same album, “Do You Ever.” “Prayer for the Dying” was another heartbreaking cut (to the point it made my wife cry) that led into “Love’s Divine.”
A surprise was his cover of Hall & Oates‘ “Sara Smile” (with Seal on back-up guitar). “Love,” the last song on 7, led into the first verse of David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity,” and I thought my wife was going to slide off her chair.
“Deep Water” was another beautiful track, and then came another surprise – Seal’s cover of Tears for Fears‘ “Mad World,” which he dedicated to the victims of the recent earthquake in Italy. “My Vision” and “Right Life” got everyone up and moving again, and he even threw in a little bit of Chic‘s “Le Freak.” The fourth cover of the night was Prince‘s “Hot Thing,” which was one of the funkiest tunes of the night and closed out the main set to a standing ovation.
The encore consisted of “Kiss from a Rose” and then another track from 7, “Life on the Dancefloor,” which had everyone dancing and grooving and leaving on a good buzz. I saw two ladies a few rows behind us when the houselights came up, and they were dumbfounded in their chairs. They didn’t move for several minutes.
I asked my wife if the show made up for Bo Ningen.
“Almost,” she said. “Probably the Bo, but not the Ningen.”
I took that as a win. Thanks, Seal.
Keep your mind open.