Mary J. Blige and Maxwell, the two greatest soul artists of their generation, will share a stage at the Sprint Center on Monday.
No performers have done more to nurture and refine the classic Motown sound during the last 20 years than Blige, 45, and Gerald Maxwell Rivera, 43, the man who works under his middle name. The dream pairing is the year’s most essential tour for fans of the soulful music that was forged in Detroit and sharpened in New York.
Blige is a cultural icon whose songs of empowerment have inspired millions. Her rugged voice conveys both anguish and hard-won joy as she interprets emotionally raw songs such as “My Life” and “Therapy.” She’s prone to doubling over as if in pain as she wrings every drop of feeling from her enduring hits.
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A similarly emotive performer, Maxwell is the heir to the legacy of the late Marvin Gaye. Maxwell was showered with women’s undergarments at Kansas City’s Uptown Theater in 2008 even as he presented an exceptionally urbane version of R&B. He’s released only two albums since then: the brilliant “BLACKsummers’night” in 2009 and the new “BlackSUMMERS’night,” the sultry middle portion of an ambitious three-part song cycle.
Maxwell’s impeccably smooth style makes gems like “Pretty Wings” and “Lake By the Ocean” the baby-making music of choice for countless lovers. Ro James, the New York based crooner behind the seductive hit “Permission,” opens the show.
Tickets cost $37.50-$173 in advance. For more info, go to sprintcenter.com or call 816-949-7100.