Live Concert: Seal

1 years ago | posted: 05-14-2023 8:00 PM

When growing up in the 90's there was a lot of exciting experiences coming out of the music industry. In my teens I gravitated mostly towards grunge and metal music. Of course, the metal I was interested in was what had evolved from the British Heavy metal like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead, and Diamond Head. What had come from that wave of British music was bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Savatage, and Anthrax. While my musical interests were grounded in this, I was not immune to being attracted to what was considered pop or contemporary versions of R&B.


In 1995 the Batman Forever movie hit the big screen along with the soundtrack hitting the radio waves. One of my favorite songs at the time being played every hour on the air waves was "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" from U2. This is the song that really opened the door to the "new" U2 or post Joshua Tree U2. Achtung Baby disappointed me along with U2's subsequent albums and it was mostly because I was not able to understand why they changed what was truly working. Nonetheless, it was giving new birth to U2 for me.


On that same soundtrack was Seal's "Kiss from a Rose". This song was also played on the radio it seems like every hour. Of course, there was the Batman Forever commercials on MTV as well as the video for this song. Something about Seal's voice struck something in me. There was something elegant and warm about his voice in this song. It was then that I took the leap away from the head banging and foot stomping music I had been listening to and reached for something outside of my angst-filled musical taste.


I purchased the Seal II album and was surprised to find that every song on that album was incredible. It became the most circulated CD in my cd player. It was an album that pulled me in so many different directions. I don't recall it but I am sure that it influences a more sentimental side of myself that was not necessarily there in my younger days.


Seal became one of my favorite artists with albums like "Human Being", and "Seal IV" being my later favorites. During Covid and after the death of my father-in-law, I began to reach into his collections again along with other artists. His album "7" struck a chord during that time. Not sure what it was but it seemed to invoke the same experiences I had when "Seal II" was released. I dove back into listening to his music when I painted and wrote. Seal's music became a soundtrack to my life again.


In 2022 I saw that Seal was coming to the Saenger Theatre on May 2nd in New Orleans which is an incredible venue for music. The acoustics are incredible. I purchased the best tickets that I could find and felt guilty for what I paid for them. In 2022 I had worked an extraordinary number of hours and felt like it was something I could purchase to treat my wife and I to a memorable date night. Little did I know how memorable it would be.


On the way to the venue, I told my wife on the drive while discussing an ideal setlist, that if he played the entire Seal II album it would be incredible. Parking was easy but a little pricy as usual in New Orleans. It is worth the investment, trust me. We entered the venue and purchased some concessions and walked past the merchandise booth. We discuss briefly how we used to love band shirts when we were younger. We felt a little older than we had from other concert experiences as we looked around to see an older crowd. Of course, this older crowd was our age. Time had passed us by.


Barbara followed me as we walked down into the Orchestra section where she looked at me surprised that we were twelve rows from the stage. We sat down and was excited to see the show at such a close location and we were right on the aisle. It was then that the cost of the tickets began to seem worth it. We watched as Trevor Horn's Buggles played a few songs including his hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" which was a cool surprise and a bit ironic considering MTV is what introduced me to Seal.


Seal hit the stage with all of the fanfare we expected with a flashback of his career as a prelude to his entrance. He entered to the song "Crazy" which he was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 and won a BMI Pop Award in 1993. He then played the "Beginning ", "Deep Water, "Whirlpool ", "Future Love Paradise ", and "Violet" from "Seal I". He then played "Prayer for the Dying" from Seal II.


During this song, he came off of the stage and walked down the aisle beside us. Everyone was filming his as he walked down the aisle toward us. I began to film as well but felt a little bit ashamed so I held the phone at my chest to not be the paparazzi style annoyance that I am sure Seal is used to. When he got closer, he saw Barbara and I and walked over to us to sing to us and the people next to us.


It was moment and a feeling that Barbara and I could not explain. He was there in front of us singing but seemed like just one of us. So many times, I had seen him in concerts on YouTube or on television in interviews. He was now a real-life person. We were a little star struck but more for his willingness to get down into the audience and connect with the people. It was really special.


After he finished this song, he sung incredible versions of "Don't Cry", "Fast Changes", "Killer", and of course "Kiss from a Rose". We were truly amazed how incredible his voice was and how it brought us back to a time when things seemed to be simpler. It brought us back to a part of our youth. He sounded as good or even better than his produced albums. The band was on time and followed Seal's lead when he wanted to venture off into more impromptu renditions of his hits.


After the show, Barbara and I was thrilled to have experienced the show. The acoustics in the venue were incredible and offered a great soundstage for Seal's performance. We looked around the room and saw that others around us had a similar magical experience as they were explaining how great the show was.


As we walked by the merchandise stand, Barbara and I looked at each other and said, "why not?!". After all we felt young again – at least for a moment. We both purchased a shirt and walked back to the car reliving the experience. When we got into the car, it was not even a question what we would listen to. We put on "Prayer for the Dying" and thought about what this song meant this evening. Life had come full circle was we have become older. It seemed like a prayer for humanity.


Fearless people careless needle

Harsh words spoken and lives are broken

Forceful aging help me I'm fading

Heaven's waiting it's time to move on

Crossing that bridge with lessons I've learned

Playing with fire and not getting burned

I may not know what you're going through

But time is the space between me and you

Life carries on, ooh

It goes on

Just say die and that would be pessimistic

In your mind we can walk across the water

Please don't cry it's just a prayer for the dying

I just don't know what's got into me

Been crossing that bridge with lessons I've learned (learned)

Playing with fire and not getting burned (burned)

I may not know what you're going through

But time is the space between me and you

There is a light through that window

Hold on say yes while people say no

Life carries on, on, on, on, ooh

It goes on, oh-ee-oh, whoa-ee-oh, ho, oh

I'm crossing that bridge with lessons (I've learned)

I'm playing with fire and not getting burned (burned)

I may not know what you're going through

But time is the space between me and you

There is a light through that window

Hold on say yes while people say no

'Cause life carries on oh-ee-oh, whoa-ee-oh ho on

It goes on, oh-ee-on, it goes on

Whoah, whoah, life carries on

When nothing else matters

When nothing else matters

I just don't know what's got into me

It's just a prayer for the dying

For the dying

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