Played An Intimate Show
At Jacobs Pavillion
August 20, 2022
Alicia Keys made a stunning return to Cleveland last night to a sold-out Jacobs Pavilion. It has been eighteen years since Ms. Keys has played in The Land and she made up for lost time by packing thirty-one songs in her two hour set.
Opening the show with "Nat King Cole" from her latest release Keys, Alicia and her five piece backing band were off and running.
Keys effortlessly transitioned between being the front woman where she would show off some dance moves, to going to the piano to add some extra texture to her songs.
She expertly mixed in newer songs like "Time Machine," "Wasted Energy" and "Plentiful" with some older songs like "Karma" and "You Don't Know My Name."
Early in the set, Alicia told the audience, "Tonight is about singing at the top of your lungs! It's about being free. I want to make it intimate, just between me and you."
She did seem to make it intimate between the 5,000 fans that packed the outdoor arena.
In the middle of her set, while the band was playing Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall," Alicia went to the right of the stage, closer to the audience, where she had set up a DJ booth that had keyboards, drum machines and mixers.
She said they she was going to treat this like the Apollo Theater where the fans would vote for their favorite version of a couple of songs. She then played the original version of "Skydive" on the piano and then played the "Unlocked" version that featured a hip hop beat. She then had the fans vote, based on their applause.
The original version won.
After performing a few more songs from the DJ booth including "Unbreakable" and "My Boo," Keys went into "City Of Gods (Part II)." She exclaimed, "Let's do another song about New York!" With that, "Empire State Of Mind" was played and the whole audience was singing along.
During the Jay Z portion of the song (which was played on the screen), Keys made her way out of the booth and into the audience to sing the chorus and to make her way back to the stage to finish the song.
The positive vibes and messages continued on stage as the band tore into "Girl On Fire" and "Superwoman."
Keys made her way back to the piano to play her first hit "Fallin', and ending the main set was another sing-a-long anthem, "No One."
Alicia and the band returned to play a two song encore that included a snippet of Prince's "Purple Rain" solo and the songs "Like You'll Never See Me Again" and "If I Ain't Got You."
It was a perfect evening on the banks of the Cuyahoga to see a master perform her craft.
Review by Greg Drugan
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur