The Love ‘N Soul Experience Tour featuring Raheem DeVaughn, Leela James and special guest V. Bozeman has a few more weeks left in its run, but last weekend it pulled into the DMV for two shows in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. It was only right for this tour to hit headliner Raheem DeVaughn's homebase, and the sold out concert at the Warner Theatre in D.C. set the weekend off lovely.
Setting the concert off was Empire star and breakout singing sensation V. Bozeman. Clad in a multi-color printed bodysuit, the bald beauty was a sight to see, but it was her voice that really got everyone's attention. V. warmed up the audience with her pre-Empire fame single "Race Jones" before seguing into her current single "Smile" (sans Timbaland) and ending her set with the song that put her on the map, "What Is Love." With her look, stage presence and vocal ability, Bozeman proved that she's one to watch out for long after this tour ends.
Leela James may have been the second to perform before DeVaughn closed the night out, but, quite frankly, she stole the show. James made everyone in attendance have a funky good time with her down-home recipe of soul, R&B, blues, gospel, rock and funk. If genres were stones, she left none unturned during her raucous performance punctuated by her colorful banter and interaction with the audience. She didn't just sing songs like "Say That," "So Good," "My Joy" and "Fall For You," but she turned them into musical events with the assistance of her background singers and the house band who expertly broke things down, interpolated classics such as Sade's "No Ordinary Love" and didn't miss a beat in general. James' very first single of her career, "Music," became a battle cry to bring good soul music back to prominence and to kick nonsense in all aspects of society to the curb with a little help from Avery*Sunshine who was in the front row. Leela ended her portion of the show with an extended version of her lovelorn track "Set Me Free" that made the audience not want to let her go.
Last to perform was Raheem DeVaughn, who received nothing but love from the hometown audience. The Love King gave it right back as he began his set seated on his throne with a crown atop his head and in the finest red leather suit we've seen on stage since Eddie Murphy in Delirious. DeVaughn's performance kicked off with Love Sex Passion track "Countdown To Love" and he rode that passionate wave to the next song, "Black Ice Cream," and other selections from the album including "When You Love Somebody" and "All I Know (My Heart)." Raheem was in his loverman zone, which got his show off to a sexy but subdued start. Things picked up when he sang a little of Drake's ubiquitous "Hotline Bling" before going into his older material. "Guess Who Loves You More" sounded fresh with a go-go breakdown, fans stood to their feet to get their groove on to "I Don't Care" and "You" got flipped with an arrangement using the music to "Moments In Love" by Art of Noise. His tribute to R&B of the '70s, '80s and '90s was popular with the audience and led perfectly into "Temperature's Rising." At one point in his show, DeVaughn took a field trip into the audience and even went upstairs to the balcony to connect with his fans. Raheem ended the night with the clever wordplay of his song "Customer," and sent everyone who bought a ticket to The Love 'N Soul Experience Tour home satisfied after an excellent and fulfilling concert.