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John Legend had The Riverside at capacity with a sold-out - and diverse - crowd.
John Legend had The Riverside at capacity with a sold-out - and diverse - crowd.

Diverse, sold-out crowd embraces Legend

More than 2,400 fans headed to the Riverside Theater last night in Downtown Milwaukee to see John Legend.

Legend hasn't been here since he opened for Stevie Wonder at Summerfest in 2009, and Milwaukee warmly welcomed him back to one of the area’s best venues. Opening with "Made to Love," Legend made sure if you were not already on your feet, you got the hell up and moved to his music.  A mix of old and new material was weaved throughout the night, with hits such as "Save Room," "Let’s Get Lifted," "Caught Up" and a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" were included in 26-song set.  

Legend joked, "I need some alone time with you, Milwaukee," when he sat behind his stately baby grand piano for a solo mini-set of hits that included some of my favorites – "Good Morning" and "Ordinary People." Legend’s a smooth operator, and everyone there knew it.

It felt a bit manufactured at times, but all in all, I bought what he was selling and I’d see him again in a heartbeat.

Winner of nine Grammy Awards and numerous chart-topping albums, Legend drew one of the most diverse crowds I've seen at a Milwaukee concert in a really long time.

I was proud to see it. I’m in a mixed race relationship myself, and while it has not been an issue for us, I am very aware it could be for other people without the same respect level or communication we have.

Much has been written lately about the racial divide in our city. It is a sad state to be in. Last night gave me hope. Music is a universal language. If we can’t find common ground anywhere else, let’s keep using this language, Milwaukee. Please.