Stunning! Brian McKnight at City Winery Chicago (November 24, 2021)

Brian McKnight starts the set off singing to just a backup track. It’s a bit like karaoke as he sings “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. He also sings a few of his own songs in this style.

Photos by Janet M. Takayama

Later on he sits down at the keyboard and plays what he calls a “sad song medley”. This includes “Get Over You” and “Lonely”.

He then returns to karaoke style with a tribute to a few artists who have passed away. This includes the great “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross. “Oh, my love. A thousand kisses from you is never too much. I just don’t wanna stop.” It sounds great sung by McKnight and it’s a shame he stopped after just one verse and chorus. He stops short like this for most of the songs tonight, including his own songs.

In the middle of the set, he launches straight into his biggest hit (158 million plays on Spotify), his 1999 song “Back At One”. Instantly, many in the audience are transported back to their high school homecoming dance or prom. It’s a beautiful song that still sounds great today. Thankfully, he doesn’t cut this one short.

He then opens up the set for requests. Instead of having people shout out, he has them raise their hands. This is a great idea. I think Second City should use this as well for taking suggestions. Beforehand, he warns us that since he has 20 albums, he might not remember the words. However, for tonight’s show he nails all the requests.

Later on he describes how he recently wrote the best song of his career, “Nobody”. He wrote it for his wife of 10 years, his muse. “I’ll hold.. nobody’s hand but yours. You can believe for sure, I’ll be nobody’s man but yours.” It’s amazing how after 30 years of writing songs, he can still write a stunner like this one.

Cost of a ticket: $70

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

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