Not a still body can be found at the Downtown Stage at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Festival. Soul legend, Stevie Wonder, is the quintessential master of ceremonies as Friday night’s headlining act (Sept. 25). With his four-piece keyboard set-up (including a glittery black Vintage Vibe Vibanet) and a musical outfit of 12 including musicians and backup vocalists, Wonder’s set only merited the best.
Despite the abundance of EDM junkies, PLUR enthusiasts would actually be enamored with Stevie, the proponent for all things love, peace and life. Kicking off with the instant party starter “How Sweet It Is,” the 65-year-old rock star’s good spirits were contagious. He even led the crowd in a sing-along throughout his performance. “I say how sweet it is to be loved by God, how very blessed we are to be here tonight with each other,” he said. “This is truly a celebration so in the spirit of that, I want to form a choir right here tonight.”
Stevie Wonder’s music is the most beautiful three generation love letter. Who can fill the vacancy of love he’ll leave once he’s gone?
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) September 26, 2015
Often telling the crowd “I love you” in between his renditions of classics like Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” and his 1973 jam “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing,” Wonder was the people’s champ. Even the staff personnel were wagging their headsets and toe-tapping while on duty in front of The Great One. Sweet bursts of nostalgia in the form of “Overjoyed” and “My Cherie Amour” had the baes in attendance dancing on the dirt mounds like it was their makeshift living room.
While classics like The Woman In Red single “Love Light In Flight” and the Songs In The Key of Life softspot “Isn’t She Lovely” missing from the set list, Mr. Wonder made up for it with a plethora of grooves worthy of the millennial set as well as his veteran fans. With seven minutes left in his two hour and ten minute stage show, he challenged his backup vocalists to what felt like an impromptu sing-off, bringing the house down with heaven high notes from the musical prodigies in his squad.
Even Stevie’s super silly side made an appearance. “This ain’t no En Vogue concert,” he teased his background singers, comprised of four women and one fella. “This is a Stevie show.” While Sin City didn’t need the reminder, it was a pinch-me moment for many, including this writer. Just before he made his grand exit, he left his audience with one empowering gem. “Remember it is up to us to make the world a better place.”