atm-stevie wonder 02


MP3: Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely

MP3: Stevie Wonder – Superstition

MP3: Stevie Wonder – You Are The Sunshine Of My Life

MP3: Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke


Live in Show: Stevie Wonder
@ General Motors Stage; MJF 30 06 09

atm-stevie wonder; scene general motors, main stage, honestly mtl did such an amazing this this year, lots of construction work to get this place looking fabulous. normally the main stage faces the fountain and is wonderful but the light show is limited. not this time. not the 30th anniversary! so beautiful.

I got onto the grounds around 1500. Yes I know, super early but it’s the Jazz festival! Shit is always going down somewhere. Anyways, I got this amazing spot on the right side on the grass and was pretty much front row but BETTER than front row because the grass has an incline which means I got to see with no problem at all. There was a sound check going on and lo and behold! Stevie Wonder graces the stage! Hoooooorah! He has such a wonderfully magnetic personality. He comes on stage saying, hey this is the sound check, it’s only the sound check. So shut it up, and shut it down…shut it up and shut it down…He goes into rehearsing “Overjoyed” and “Higher Ground”. It was pretty amazing. What is ALSO amazing is that you guys are now following the blog of someone FAMOUS. That’s right, me!!!

Here’s how it went down. There was a quiet moment after his whole “shut it up and shut it down” and I screamed, “I LOVE YOU STEVIE!!!” and he said, “I love you too”. THAT’S RIGHT!! He was responding to my “I love you” and I am officially loved by Stevie Wonder which makes me famous….MWAAAAAAJAJAJA. Yes, I am lame. You can unsubscribe now jaja.

atm-stevie wonder; sound check!

Anyways, before he left the stage he talked about Michael Jackson. He basically said that despite the ridiculous and crazy things that people say about him, it’s being done for money, and that no one, absolutely no one, can bring Michael Jackson back to life. So, he said, let’s celebrate his life. This is a celebration. Amen to that! After seeing all these videos of different cities having tributes to MJ, I felt a void in that MTL didn’t really have a noticeable tribute at all, no dancing in the streets, nothing. You hear people the next day whispering, gossiping, and filling the void in conversations about Michael Jackson but really, I think no one reaaaaaaaaaaally cared.

I for one, still don’t know how to handle the information. I see videos like the ones I posted up earlier that were simply beautiful and heartfelt tributes to MJ’s life. No eulogies like the stars give, but real life people in a real life situation. Dancing in Dundas Square or beneath the Apollo, seeing people break down and crying after dancing, seeing people sing whole songs (THAT AREN’T BILLIE JEAN–I have a beef with this too, because Billie Jean is NOT the best MJ song, it just isn’t. It is the most commercially played, on radios, in clubs, and it just drives me crazy that every time MJ is mentioned it is always this song and rarely songs off of other albums like Off the Wall, Bad, and, Blood on the Dance Floor), really get me emotional. After seeing that girl dance under the Apollo and breaking down after, I just couldn’t help feeling so teary eyed. It’s beautiful. So for Stevie Wonder, to first and foremost declare that this was a celebration of Michael Jackson’s legacy, got me more appreciative and even more respectful of Stevie–not that it can go any higher–but it got the people waiting buzzed because I think everyone else, like me, were waiting for something like this. Glastonbury got their tributes. And now the Montréal Jazz Festival will too.

OK moving on…I was sitting near very eccentric people, most of whom, like me, showed up around 1500 or 1600 to wait for Stevie Wonder and have good spots. It was funny when people tried to pass us because Carla, the most eccentric of the bunch, was our space bodyguard, telling people to keep moving or to go back to where they came from. They EARNED their spots and they weren’t losing them to people who show up an hour before the show expecting to get in front of an already tired fan base. CHEERS TO YOU CARLA! It got to the point where the ENTIRE grass section I was in booed people trying to get closer. Hilarious. The time went by a lot faster because of the people I was around. It was great.

During the wait three MJ songs came on: “That Girl is Mine”, “Rock With You”, and the Jackson Five hit, “I Want You Back”. We all sang along. This was really nice too.

atm-stevie wonder; the crowd before the show before the rain

Then the rain came.

atm-stevie wonder; crowd before the show during the rain!

We were getting cold, the MJ songs stopped playing, and Stevie was running late. The tensions were higher around my area. It was clear. People trying to get further down were getting cussed out by the many families that I saw stay there from 1500 and onwards. Making it worse, people were shoving their way through, and at one point a girl just snapped at another lady and screamed, “you pushed me without even saying excuse me, what’s your PROBLEM?!”. And by this point, we were all like a family, ready to defend each other, and that aggressive lady was gonna be in shit if she didn’t haul ass. And she did.

Finally Stevie was on!!! Just like in the sound check, he recognizes Michael Jackson. True to his promise of making it a celebration, the first song Stevie opened up with was a song that he and Quincy Jones wrote which Michael ended up singing on Off the Wall. On these words I nearly cried, as Off the Wall is hands down my favorite and IMO best MJ album. I was also emotional because I was expecting Wonder to cover at least one MJ song and as my friend Petros and I were discussing, if it was “Get On the Floor”, “Off the Wall” or “Girlfriend” we would just break down. However, it turned out to be “I Can’t Help It”, which is still a fantastic song but not one that would immediately start a fiery dance party on the grounds.

Just like Stevie said, it was a celebration of the legacy that is Michael Jackson and the only way to celebrate is to dance. Surely enough, laced throughout the show, Stevie and crew stopped and a Michael Jackson song came on and we all dance together. What an amazing man and what a way to tribute Michael Jackson. Not to cover him, not to play over him, but to just dance to what he created. The first song was “Shake Your Body” and the next was “The Way You Make Me Feel”, which Wonder tells us, is his favorite MJ song.

Wonder goes into “All I Do”, and after that a new song with a message saying it doesn’t matter what language you speak, it’s all the same. He does hits like “Higher Ground” and after that showcased his massive band crew: 2 percussionists. 1 drummer. 2 guitarists. 2 bassists. 2 keyboardists. 4 amazing vocalists (of which one was his daugther, Aisha Morris), 1 saxophon. 1 trumpet. and of course, 1 Stevie Wonder. The drummer, BTW, is so freakin’ crazy. This took about 20 minutes but he rewarded our patience with another one of his hits “Overjoyed”.

He plays the keyboard, the piano, and the harmonica for us. He sounds just as good as he did back in the 60’s, the era of Motown. But not only does he perform incredibly well, and is also fantastic at riling up the crowd, he chats it up with us, showing us his true character which remains so down to earth, so gentleman like, even up ’til now, and this makes me love the man more than I already do. (He loves me too–remember? Tee hee).

atm-stevie wonder; mr. wonderful

Stevie gleefully says to us, “voulez vouz coucher avec moi?” and we all started screaming, and he goes “what does that mean anyways?!” jajaj funny man. He tells us the story of how he was in MTL for the first time when he was 15? (I think this was the age he said) and some girl said this to him and he’s like, whatchu talkin’ about…and he mumbles quickly mimicking a stereotypical French slur, and then he says, OOOOOOH, and he says he almost felt like Ray Charles….”YEAAAAAAAAH”. It was a good laugh.

After that short comedic ramble, he featured his daughter, Aisha Morris, who is GORGEOUS by the way, to sing a song. She sang Nat King Cole’s “I’m Gonna Laugh You Out of My Life”. It was beautiful. Compared to the original (I do believe NKC’s is the original), she made it much darkeand sexier with her sultry and really captured the song lyrically. Everyone was so impressed and I think, a bit honored, to see that Stevie Wonder had such a magnificent and talented daughter.

atm-stevie wonder and his daughter aisha morris

Y’all still with me?
How would you guys like to hear some old school Stevie stuff?
Can we rock it like that? Would you guys be ok with that?!

He goes into a string of Stevie hits, unfortunately a lot of them were only a minute or so as one wove into the other:

My Cherie Amour
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)
Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
For Once in My Life
Do I Do
I Just Called To Say, I Love You
These Three Words
Sir Duke (YAAAAAY!)
Past Time Paradise
Superstition (this really got the crowd going, and it was the only song in full! I was getting my groooove on!)

Everybody say!
Michael Jackson, we love you so, we’re never ever ever gonna let you go!
Michael Jackson, we love you so, we’re never ever ever gonna let you go!
Michael Jackson, we love you so, we’re never ever ever gonna let you go!

Use your heart, use your heart to love somebody.
And if, your heart is really really big enough,
use your heart to love everybody.

And with that he ended with his last song, “As”.

atm-stevie wonder; at the end of the show, the entire crew dances to MJ

But it’s not over yet folks! Just like how he started the show and kept throughout the show, we were celebrating Michael Jackson’s life. And I nearly lost it when this happened, but yes, everyone on stage and in the rain (yes, it started raining—again, as epic peformances usually do), danced for at least 20 minutes to a MJ mixtape. FINALLY, such an epic tribute, to just DANCE to Michael. Absolutely amazing. The MJ songs we danced to, unfortunately, didn’t have as much Off the Wall as much as I would have liked but it was still great!

Always My Girl? (Does anyone know this song? It sounded like Jackson 5?)
Tell Me Why? (Does anyone know this song…? Sounds like earlier MJ but I don’t know which)
Shake Your Body
Rock With You
Billie Jean
The Way You Make Me Feel
Man in the Mirror

And that was it. He ended the show to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” played in full. Such a great message that Stevie wanted to give out through Michael’s voice so long ago…

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Then take a look at yourself and make that change

atm-stevie wonder; amazing fireworks after!!!!

Thank you Stevie. Montréal was truly spoiled tonight.

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