Baileys Get Together With John Legend and Friends: Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC 11/9/07

Metropolitan was the theme and good music was definitely in the house, as the Bailey's sponsored John Legend Showcase was in full effect. Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC was packed to the brim with hipsters and tastemakers all ready to see whether the Legend was myth or legit.The warm-up for the evening was a group called the James Gang. They were a triplet of knicker-wearing Fonzworth lites, complete with suede-elbowed blazers and high socks, whose stage show consisted of a few Kappa-isms with pseudo stepping and cane play. The crowd crammed to understand whether they should dig it or not, resulting in an uneven response. Derbies and knickers played well during the Harlem Renaissance; not quite sure about now. Survey says...pass. The main event arrived in short order as John Legend assailed the stage with the lead single from his second album ”Heaven Only Knows.” The ladies sung the refrain along with the chorus. You could tell from the moment he took the mic that John Legend did not come to play. From there he hopped on the piano for a rousing rendition of “Get Lifted” from his first album titled same. Band in full swing to back him up, Legend belted out his hit in full sweat. His energy definitely translated to the crowd of women who hung on his every word.From his opening stanza, Legend introduced himself to the crowd over a guitar and subsequently brought out UK artist Estelle. With backup singers in full tow, she introduced the crowd to her song. She showed both strong crowd control and breath control, never stepping beyond her wide range. Estelle was definitely getting her Lauryn Hill on, singing and rapping her way to the crowd's heart. Legend stepped in to duet the hook and it was all gravy. Estelle returned later for another performance infusing Hip-Hop, reggae, and R&B. Good, but all it did was make you remember and think about what Lauryn could have been if she didn't wig out.All in all, the crowd expected a great show and Mr. Legend, along with his backup singers and his band, certainly delivered. Strong vocals and good energy combined for an efficient and heartfelt experience. Bailey's was sipped, the crowd was entertained, and a good time was had by all. Get lifted if you know what's good for you and check John Legend out at a town near you.