Sade (Live)

Watching Sade recreate their songs in live performance drives home how remarkable of a band they really are. They make it look so effortless. These sentiments are hardly original, but there's something about Sade's studio sound that lulls the listener into forgetting there are actual musicians creating it all. Seeing is believing.

There are a couple of their live DVDs I don't have, such as Life Promise Pride Love and Live in Munich 1984. So really, that opening image up there should read "The live dvds that I personally have." But, unwieldy. It's mostly screencaps this time around, anyway, so who cares.

Two performances not included on any DVD I know of are "Is It a Crime" and "Sweetest Taboo" on Season 11 Episode 5 of SNL hosted by Tom Hanks. 

Couldn't find a link for "Sweetest Taboo", alas.

Good stuff. Paul's bass sounds particularly good on that rendition of "Is It a Crime." Everyone does, actually. That's what I'm trying to get across, folks - Sade is a damn tight band. A Captain Obvious remark if there ever was one, sure, but sheesh, folks. When people list the Greatest Bands Ever, two they always leave off are Sade and Earth, Wind, and Fire. Come on, people. Get with the program. By any objective standard, they belong in the conversation.

Okay, so as for the live DVDs I have, let's start with: 


The first thing that pops out to the 2016 viewer of this concert is - no multiple costume changes? No army of jiggle dancers simulating sex acts? No bras turning into rockets or pinwheel flares what not? What?? How can anyone take this seriously? (Ahem.)

Not that 1994 was immune to such trends, although the degree to which they've become "the norm" twenty years later is a head-scratcher. The future belonged to a Madonna sensibility, and Truth or Dare Madonna at that, not "Into the Groove" Madonna, unfortunately, and not that on display here. As for that, Ms. Adu follows her usual on-stage persona - slinking around barefoot and sidewinding her arms above her head. 

"Slinking" sounds wrong. But it seems to be the most accurate word choice.
She does the big-arms Christ-pose thing, too, when hitting certain notes.

Very little banter with the crowd. That's the right approach. Performers should perform; audiences should audience. Unless you're Paul Stanley. Or Nina Simone. Okay, there are plenty of exceptions.

Pretty slick show. Opens with "Sweetest Taboo," which no one could possibly complain about. Again, watching the band recreate the studio version of these songs just illustrates the musical interplay between all the elements on stage. Like watching a finely-tuned orchestra bring Mozart to life. I'm not saying Mozart and Sade are comparable musical entities, of course. And they don't have to be.

The version of "Keep Looking" here pops more live than it does in the studio. And "Love Is Stronger Than Pride" is more uptempo, as well. "Red Eye" is a nice jam showcasing the talents of the band. I guess it was a B-side for "Smooth Operator." 

And this version of "Nothing Can Come Between Us" is great. "Cherry Pie" is pretty epic, too. (Can't seem to find the version on this DVD, so here's a similarly-epic rendition from Lovers Live.)"Pearls" is a strong solo showcase. A lot heavier guitar in "No Ordinary Love" (or it's higher in the mix) than on the album.

I prefer the studio version of "Paradise." Though this uptempo funkier version is pretty cool. During it, the dance routine Ms. Adu and Leroy Osbourne have worked out includes some simulated rabbit punches to Mr. Osbourne's face. Good sport. Not sure why that's part of the proceedings.

Stu kinda looks like Gary Oldman from True Romance here.

"Jezebel" isn't one of my favorite Sade tunes, but it's an appropriate show-closer.

Here's some pics. 

Paul looks a bit pirate-esque here. Particularly with that goutee. I like it, though.

Pretty colors. Everyone looks pretty damn cool. (Well, Stu's dreads are something else, but hey, it was '92.) A pretty simple set / stage compared to:


As directed by Sophie Muller, who got her start with videos for the Eurythmics and the very first Sade videos from Diamond Life. (She's done quite well for herself since.) I sometimes want to refer to Ms. Muller as the fifth member of Sade, but that may be overstating it. (And it looks over frequent musical collaborators like Trevor Murrell and the gang.) So, I'll let the band determine who their official fifth member is, thank you very much, and leave it there.

I like the Lovers Rock songs, particularly "Every Word" and "Somebody Already Broke My Heart" much more here than I do on the album. (The video montage accompanying "Every Word" emphasizes that "Love Is What the Word Was." In case anyone was wondering.) Which probably means I'd like Lovers Rock more as an album had I seen the DVD before hearing the album. First impressions are so tough to overcome. 

Slight more crowd interaction in this one. As with the '94 one, she switches to slacks (and back to heels) for the encore. She starts in heels but ditches them for bare feet after a song or two. 

Could the band be a little sick of "Smooth Operator" by this point? How could you be? But if anyone could be sick of it, I guess it'd be these guys. 

 "Kiss Of Life" is the show-people-dance-in-the-crowd track. 

Here's some pics. 

Good stuff. If you're an unattached guy or girl out there of any age or persuasion, pick it up for the library. Any date that crosses the threshold to your home will thank you for it.

Last up:


More of the same, but it's a "same" of such pleasure that that should be read as a ringing endorsement and not a been-here-done-that vibe. This was from their last world tour, for Soldier of Love

Which included a return to Mannheim, where one of their first video concerts was filmed.
Will they be returning in 2017? Rumors abound.

Ms. Adu has very much embraced onstage heels by this point in Sade's touring life. The always-barefoot Sade persona seems to be retired.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from the Dog Star Omnibus Bullpen!

And from Sade, too, I'm sure.


  1. I am going to have get all of these someday.

    I'm sure there is somebody out there who would find the Miley Cyruses of the world to be preferable to what's happening in these videos, and more power to them. But if I'm allowed to judge their taste, I find it to be severely lacking.

    The '94 version of "Nothing Can Come Between Us" is phenomenal. I found that on YouTube and sent a link to it to a friend along with the summation "Gaze on perfection and know the extent to which you are lacking," or some such sentiment.

    My thoughts on stage banter would be that for some performers, it makes sense. I'd feel cheated if I went to a U2 show and didn't get harangued politically by Bono. But some performers draw power from the extent to which they are mysterious, and Sade is one of them, I think.

    The metal-riff addition to "No Ordinary Love" is terrific. I wouldn't have thought it possible to improve on the studio version of that song, but by gum, I believe they may have done it.

    That really is quite a resume for Sophie Muller. I forget sometimes that one can be a highly successful and influential film director without ever working in cinema or television. Directors of both music videos and commercials probably ought to get more recognition.

    That '02 version of "Kiss of Life" is awesome, dancing audience members included. They're feeling it, and why not? Who wouldn't be?

    This is a heck of a gallery of screencaps here, by the way.

    1. When I got to googling for images I saw the same old ones, so I thought I'd throw some new screencaps into the mix. You're welcome, Planet Earth.

      And agreed on all other counts! Glad to hear your extended sojourn through Sade has yielded agreeable results. They are, in my mind, essential.

    2. The more I hear, the more inclined I am to agree.