Sade, John Legend Toyota Center July 23, 2011
See more smooth operation from Sade & John Legend in our slideshow.
As word of Amy Winehouse's death spread across the Internet Saturday, another British soul singer was preparing to perform in Houston for the first time in about a decade. And there, so it would seem, the similarities between Sade Adu and Winehouse end - two women who shared a hometown, a fondness for saxophones and little else.
But perhaps not. Although Adu keeps her personal affairs as private as Winehouse did not - by her own choosing or fiat of Britain's notoriously ravenous tabloid editors - both women's music trafficks in the kind of powerful, even painful intimacy that convinces listeners that they actually know these people. And, even more importantly, that the singers know them.
Whether or not that intimacy stems from events in their offstage lives doesn't matter. It was (for Winehouse) and has been (Sade) convincing enough to make both women the equivalent of rock stars, with attendant album and ticket sales, in a genre that does not produce too many.