I don’t watch Glee. Never have, never will. However, my inner choir nerd did come out Wednesday night, when Ryan Leslie opened his show at The Roxy with a recording of “Mon Coeur Se Reccomande a Vous,” an enchanting French choral piece from the Renaissance era.
As the curtains rose up and the choral track faded away, there stood Ryan Leslie and his 3-piece band. Leslie dictated his struggles and quest for musical success with sparse accompaniment on “Glory,” one of the new singles off his upcoming album Les is More.
Leslie then transitioned into another single from the new album, “Beautiful Lie.” The percussive, bass thumping tune had the sold-out crowd singing “And we all want to believe in a beautiful lie,” as Leslie dabbled out a prompt synth solo during the bridge.
In addition to new songs from the upcoming album, Ryan Leslie also obliged his fans with songs from his first two albums Ryan Leslie and Transition. Among those tracks were the booming funk of “Zodiac,” and the Miami beach party groove of “Something That I Like.”
Leslie eventually slowed the show down and addressed the crowd saying, “It doesn’t matter what language you speak when the melody is right,” as he slid into the unintelligible lyrics and airy melody of “Gibberish.”
Leslie performed a brand new song, “Lovers and Mountains,” that featured lush harmonies and some of the most intricate writing that Leslie has released thus far in his career.
As with most concerts, the performance of a hit single was the highlight of the night. But Ryan Leslie’s performance of “Diamond Girl” was unforgettable.
Leslie told the crowd about an extremely passionate fan that had brought his girlfriend to the show that night. That fan ended up on stage with his date, knee bent, and ring in hand as Ryan Leslie began singing “Diamond Girl”. Leslie passed the mic to the groom-to-be who sang the first chorus on the song to his new fiancé. It was clearly the highlight of the night for the audience, the couple and Leslie.
Ryan Leslie put on a great show full of catchy melodies, head nod-friendly grooves, and fluid arrangements that allowed him to connect to the audience at will. Leslie closed the show with a few extra songs for the hardcore fans such as “Ups and Downs,” and “How It Was Supposed To Be.”
I’m sure that every fan at the show is eagerly awaiting Ryan Leslie’s new album Les is More, in stores October 22.