December 14, 2017 – 2:59 pm

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Los Angeles 2017 [no label, 3CD]

Live at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA; December 10, 2017. Fairly to very good audience recording.

Mikael Wood,

Stevie Wonder had some altruistic reasons for performing his albums “Talking Book” and “Innervisions” from beginning to end on Sunday night at Staples Center. For starters, he was using the records, both from his early-1970s artistic peak, to lure folks to this year’s edition of his annual House Full of Toys benefit concert. (Beyond paying for tickets, showgoers were asked to bring unwrapped gifts to be distributed over the holidays to underprivileged families around Los Angeles.)

For another thing, the singer was looking to channel the albums’ positive thinking at a moment when “too many people in high positions are creating negativity,” as he put it in one of the many rambling speechlets that pushed the production toward the four-hour mark.

Yet Wonder wasn’t without a more selfish motivation.

Addressing the crowd before he cracked open “Talking Book” - which itself followed a lengthy stretch of table-setting appearances by Tony Bennett, Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews and others - Wonder said he was revisiting the old work to see if it still moved him - “to hear if I still like it and to critique what I can’t change,” he explained with a grin. “Do I still feel that joy in my heart?” he asked. “Am I still optimistic? And when I do ‘Superstition,’ do I still want to get that groove in?”

Only Wonder knows the answers of course…

And though the crowd noticeably thinned as the clock ticked past midnight, Wonder stuck to the program, playing the songs in all their complicated, drawn-out glory rather than cutting them short in a race to the finish line. The result stood out from many of the full-album concerts I’ve seen in that Wonder wasn’t reimagining the material - he was deeply faithful to the old arrangements - but was singing and playing with atypical emotional urgency.

That went double in “Big Brother,” about opportunistic politicians, and the outraged “Living for the City,” with its lyrics about black struggle that Wonder practically growled through clenched teeth as he hammered his keyboard. Much in America has changed since he released “Talking Book” and “Innversions,” Wonder seemed to be saying. And much else hasn’t.

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Thanks to opsopcopolis for sharing the show at Dime.

opsopcopolis noted:

Flew out to LA for the weekend for this show. Couldn’t miss Talking Book and Innervisions! I didn’t expect the revue style first set, and I honestly thought it sort of killed the energy, although the performances were great overall. The show was plagued with production issues, mostly feedback and other mic issues; most notably when Pharrell was on stage… Both of Stevie’s sets were fantastic and it was great fun to hear him play both albums all the way through. Clearly an emotional experience for him.

AT-853 > Ugly Battery Box > Tascam DR-05 > WAV > ProTools > WAV > xACT > FLAC

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Disc 1
Guest Artist Set
Track 101. KJLH Choir 14:47
Tony Bennett
Track 102. For Once In My Life (with Stevie Wonder) 3:17
Track 103. I Left My Heart in San Francisco 6:50
Glenn Lumanta
Track 104. Silent Night 6:40
Jade Nova
Track 105. O Holy Night 7:45
Mike Phillips
Track 106. We Are One 9:49
Andra Day & Common
Track 107. Stand Up For Something 8:39
Dave Matthews
Track 108. Crush 6:27
Stevie Wonder
Track 109. What Christmas Means to Me 3:01
68 mins

Disc 2
Savion Glover (tap dancing)
Track 201. Giant Steps 9:45
Pharrell Williams
Track 202. Happy (Daft Punk cover with Stevie Wonder) 12:47

Talking Book Set
Track 203. intro 7:36
Track 204. You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Jim Gilstrap & Lani Groves on vocals) 4:18
Track 205. Maybe Your Baby (Ray Parker Jr on lead guitar) 7:01
Track 206. You and I (We Can Conquer the World) 5:53
Track 207. Tuesday Heartbreak 3:56
Track 208. You’ve Got It Bad Girl 6:43
Track 209. Superstition (with Dave Matthews) 7:30
Track 210. Big Brother 5:08
71 mins

Disc 3
Track 301. Blame It on the Sun 3:57
Track 302. Lookin’ for Another Pure Love 5:01
Track 303. I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) 5:59

Innervisions Set
Track 304. interlude 1:48
Track 305. Too High 4:41
Track 306. Visions (with Common) 6:11
Track 307. Living for the City 7:33
Track 308. Golden Lady (with Pharrell Williams) 6:11
Track 309. Higher Ground 6:26
Track 310. Jesus Children of America 4:14
Track 311. All in Love Is Fair (with Andra Day) 4:41
Track 312. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing 4:47
Track 313. He’s Misstra Know-It-All 6:55
69 mins

Click here to order Stevie Wonder releases.

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  1. 2 Responses to “STEVIE WONDER - LOS ANGELES, DECEMBER 10, 2017”

  2. Wonder-ful (no pun intended) to see Stevie revisit these classics, as timely as ever in their own ways. One quick correction though - Happy is a Pharrell song, not a Daft Punk cover. Thanks for this!

    By Tony Pizza on Dec 14, 2017

  3. WOW! Thanks, BigO!

    By walter on Dec 14, 2017

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