The iconic singer performed at the Anthem on his latest tour
Few artists are so recognizable that they can get away with a mononym for their entire careers. But Seal is one such artist.
Think of Seal, and the unique sound of romantic soft pop he cultivated come to mind. This is thanks, in part, to his sultry vocals that belie a thick British accent.
The other key ingredient to Seal’s success is the music itself. Each of his songs have a distinctive groove that is immediately recognizable. It is this combination that has earned the UK native four Grammy Awards and a slew of other accolades.
Seal took the stage shortly after 8:30 pm at the Anthem in DC on Wednesday (May 10th) as part of a 30th anniversary tour that commemorate three decades of his landmark self-titled debut album Seal (1991) and eponymous follow-up Seal II (1994). He opened with signature tune “Crazy,” with the number starting slow but evolving into a full-on dance party.
The advanced arrangements of instrumentals and cued-live loops present for “The Beginning” fell away for “Deep Water” and “Whirlpool.” Seals voice pierced through the melodies and held the Anthem at rapt attention.
It was four songs into the night before Seal stopped to address what he called a “multicultural” crowd. And it was clear on this night that Seal’s music transcends race and creed. It was as mixed an audience as this reporter has ever seen for one artist.
The stage was draped in classy white curtains with a large video screen synchronized to the beats of the music. Seal, too, opted to start with an all-white suit with black vest and white double-breasted jacket. His left-handed guitar, as well, was a glittery off-white. Its clear that elegance of presentation matters to Seal.
No song encapsulated Seal’s musical niche better than “Future Love Paradise.” Groovy, yet sexy while being uplifting at the same time. It had the crowd on their feet.
An interesting note: Trevor Horn, frontman and bassist of the legendary 80’s band The Buggles (“Video Killed The Radio Star”), opened the show. His opening set was full of music history, from ”Radio Star” to his time playing, writing, and producing in Yes. He is the sole remaining “Solitary Buggle,” and borrowed Seal’s own band for his six-song opening set. But—surprisingly—Horn returned the favor by acting as Seal’s bassist all evening.
Seal ended his main set with, what else? “Kiss From a Rose.” The quintessential seductive power ballad. It’s become a cultural phenomenon used in film and TV. (And lifted by innumerable magicians for their flower-themed prestidigitations), But in concert, it is a powerful crescendo in Seal’s set.
Seal’s music reminds us to live life and love to our fullest. Certainly, the man himself is the living embodiment of this attitude.