May 5, 2024

Kamasi Washington played The Beacon Theatre

Jazz titan Kamasi Washington kicked-off his tour in support of his brand new album Fearless Movement with a stunning show at New York's Beacon Theatre.

A day after releasing his new album, Fearless Movement, his first solo full-length record in six years, Kamasi Washington took to New York's Beacon Theatre for the start of his latest tour and gave many songs from the album their live debuts. "I hope you're ready for new stuff because we're not playing anything old tonight" he told the crowd as his band gathered onstage. "A lot of this we've never played in front of an audience" he continued as the crowd roared in anticipation for what was to follow. Beginning with the album's opener "Lesanu," it was an immediately impressive showing from the saxophone virtuoso, his windswept talents coming sharply into focus from the onset as he tore into the tune with dominance and force. His breath work instantly calling attention and showcasing his remarkable talents, it was an immense highlight to watch him lead a group of other stellar musicians who all found their moments to shine throughout the night. Keeping with the record's running order, the second track of the night was "Asha The First," a tune he said was co-written with his two-year-old daughter, a girl who is already stone cold and ready to run her own show. Washington blushed with pride as he opened up about becoming a father and the joy he resonated seemed to carry with him for the entire show. Electric keys added brilliant stylings to the scorching sax, giving it a proggy feeling; its sinewy vibes flowing with elastic rhythms and overflowing drum patterns. On soprano sax was none other than Washington's own father and their companionship on stage was strong and admirable, each one cheering on the other and bursting with pride as they dazzled the crowd with their abundance of talent. The spiritual and astral jazz inflections were met with modern and far out grooves that allowed for spiraling solos across the stage, everyone finding their moment to get in on the action and each one somehow staying on par with the brilliance that came before it. Around the half-way mark, Washington said "I'm going to do something I've never done before, but should've been doing for a while." He then introduced DJ Battlecat who took over on the ones and two to do a remix of the track "Get Lit" that, on the record, features funk icon George Clinton. While the stage mostly emptied out aside from Kamasi who stood and boogied on down with the record scratching and sampling, the crowd took the opportunity to rise out of their seats a tad and dance, giving in to the beats before Battlecat segued into a Rico Wade and OutKast tribute that featured some bars from André 3000. 3 Stacks also appears on Washington's new album, but sadly neither he nor the song found their way into the set. Even without the cosmic "Dream State," Kamasi did slow things down for "Interstellar Peace," another tune that gave the electric keys their time to shine amongst the stars. "Lines in the Sand" was flowing tune that whirled all over the stage with pristine vocal work guiding it along with soft, touching efforts and an angelic glow, lulling the crowd with unmatched beauty. "This song is called 'Prologue' and I put it last on the album because the end of something is the usually the beginning of the next chapter" Washington told the crowd before leading the band through one final, epic performance of the night. Like a firework grand finale, "Prologue" cemented the feelings of the night as those of pure euphoria, the transcendent elements of the songs launching us all on one final trip towards the celestial heavens before returning us safely to Earth. To be part of the experience where these songs made their live debut was special and it everyone in the room seemed to agree as we all rose for a standing ovation for what felt like a show no one in the crowd will soon forget.

Set list: 

01 "Lesanu"
02 "Asha the First"
03 "Computer Love"
04 "Road to Self (KO)"
05 "Get Lit"
06 "Together"
07 "Interstellar Peace (The Last Stance)"
08 "Lines in the Sand"
09 "Prologue"

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