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Charlotte Bobcats Arena 

Live Review: Stevie Wonder

The Deal: Motown legend stops by Q.C. on first tour in 10 years.

The Good: For two-and-a-half hours, Stevie Wonder entertained the crowd with his personality, music and sense of humor. Even after messing up the first few notes of his first song, Wonder said, laughing, "Well, it's not like I can get fired." He was all smiles as he worked his way through hit after hit, mixing ballads with funk classics and doing his best to get the crowd moving and singing along. He shared songs with his daughter, Aisha Morris, used a talkbox and found time to visit some other artists hits – "My Girl," "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" and "Tear the Roof off the Sucker." He split the crowd by gender to sing the chorus of "Ribbon in the Sky," and had the crowd rolling as he played a country version of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." "Tell somebody to record that. It would be a hit. Ka-ching, ka-ching," he told the crowd. He shared stories of his mother to open the show and the story of meeting a girl and her mother before playing, "My Cherie Amour." He'd coax the band into playing brief parts of songs with, "Let me play this song for just a minute," "Play that drum roll" or "Play that bass line in B." He was standing up on his piano stool for "Do I Do," and showed he still can play one heck of a harmonica. No flashy stage, lights or productions. Just good music. Singing, dancing, laughing – it's what a good show should be.

The Bad: To me, vocal runs are the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard, but this was Stevie Wonder – all is forgiven.

The Verdict: Thousands worshiped at the church of Stevie. It was one of, if not the best show I've seen in years. Amen!

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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