The newly renovated Howard Theater in Washington DC is proving to be a force to be reckoned with for live music in this city, as evidenced by fine programs like the one on July 27, 2012. Cleverly billed as An Evening of So Much Moore, the date featured a seasoned entertainer - the dynamic Miss Chante Moore and an opening set by rising independent artist, Temika Moore.
Temika graced the stage with an easy presence, ably accompanied by guitarist Larry Mack Jr. The Philadelphia born/DC based singer possesses a beautiful tone and came prepared with well crafted songs with catchy melodies and thoughtful, inspiring lyrics. Highlights included "It's Simple to Love" and the title track from her recent EP, THE END OF ME.
Some of her musical choices were quite clever as she endeavored to reel in an audience that may not have been familiar with her music. Her cover of the classic "Summertime" was arranged around Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" lending an unusual and welcome flavor. Her original song "Light As A Feather " morphed into Caron Wheeler's "Living in the Light" and then Jill Scott's "Golden." Very smart and effective. She closed out her set with the uplifting "Let It Go" from her earlier CD, DOING JUST FINE.
Chante Moore arrived after a brief intermission to a thunderous applause from the full house. Shaking and shimmying in a sexy white mini dress, she gave a nod to her DC fans with a funky Go-Go rendition of "This Time," rocking the house. Continuing with her first hit, the now classic "Love's Taken Over," she had the crowd under her complete spell.
Quite a bit of the show was culled from Moore's debut CD, 1992's now classic PRECIOUS. It is a true testament to the strength of that collection that songs like "Love's Taken Over" and "It's Alright" still resonate with her audience. She sings them with conviction and delight. These songs allow her to show off her immense vocal agility as well as her innate sensuality, which Chante has in abundance. The latin-tinged "I Wanna Love (Like That Again)" was an early highlight, allowing her to showcase her great band and background singers.
"Do For You" was the only song that she performed from her last CD, LOVE THE WOMAN. She brought a willing gentleman from the audience on stage to serenade and seduce with lines like "...you gon' sleep real good tonight." Alright now! She managed to weave a bit of "Precious" and ""Yearning for Your Love" into the song as well.
Having reached the 20 year milestone in her career, Chante is a seasoned performer who has an easy manner with her audience. She can joke about her own experiences as a woman in and out of love in a very relatable and humorous way. During these moments she also took requests from the audience delivered some beautifully sung a cappella renditions of fan favorites, like "I'm What You Need," "Candlelight and You" and "Listen to My Song". Her catalog of great songs is so strong that it begs the question, why do covers of "Love's Holiday," "Got to Be Real," "Sweet Love" and "I Feel For You" while leaving out "Old School Lovin'," "Searchin', or "Love Action?" The covers were entertaining and fun, but not really necessary.
The definitive show stopper has to be the dramatic "As If We Never Met." Chante takes her time and turns this into a full production, building from a quiet plea to an intense confrontation and back to a quiet surrender before it's done. This has been perfected over the years and it still packs the same punch. Going the extra mile, she also turns "It's Alright" into a 12 minute opus of vocal acrobatics that is beyond belief in its beauty and complexity.
Closing out her 90 minute set with "Chante's Got A Man," she left the crowd roaring their approval and refusing to exit the hall until she returned for an appropriate encore, in this case, "Simply the Best."
It is hard to understand how a singer as gifted as Chante Moore has not achieved the type of success that would allow her to put on the kind of production to really showcase her abilities with lighting, sets and costumes like other marginally talented vocalists. Fortunately, she hasn't allowed that to stop her from giving her all to her dedicated fans who don't need to ask "Does she have a new record out? " before purchasing that ticket when she comes to town. She is not to be missed!
About the Writer
Michael Lewis is a long-time associate at SoulMusic.com. His industry experience includes Sony Music, Motown and La Face Records, and a tenure at HEAR Music. He is grateful to contribute to sustaining the legacy of R&B and soul music.