words by Patty Riek
photos by Jon Bauer
Like the sparkles on and around the lapel of his jacket, Maxwell scattered star dust all over Davies Symphony Hall on Friday, August 4, 2023. After opening with “Bad Habits,” the symphony aglow with sexy, red lighting, Maxwell commented that this was “boujee as fuck” creating an intimate, almost collaborative experience with the full music hall. Luxuriating in the sound of Maxwell’s voice paired with superlative musicians in a beautiful venue, the audience felt included with Maxwell’s many thank yous and shout outs to the Bay Area.
Tech devices shut away in Yondr pouches, the focus was on the show and each other – not our phones – leading to an amazing atmosphere of engagement. Maxwell was in awe of the audience’s adoration as much as the audience loved him. Maxwell’s soulful voice, and R&B songs were enriched by a full symphony – wind, string, brass, and percussion – conducted by Steven Reineke. In addition to the symphony, Maxwell was joined by his longtime band including supporting vocalist LaTina Webb. Each person’s specialty added to the collective musical experience.
Later in the concert, Maxwell cheerfully noted that the audience was full of all types of people from all walks of life “celebrating” together. Such is the power of music: A gifted and charismatic artist and his band + a renowned symphony and conductor + some call and response + a few sing along sessions + a stand and dance moment + a lot of gratitude = happy folks scattering into the night full of good cheer.
A two day break in Maxwell’s second leg of The Night Tour, night two of Maxwell: A Night at the Symphony is August 5, 2023.