A former church choirmaster who broke into the secular-music industry doing session work for Kanye West and Lauryn Hill, John Legend makes grown-and-sexy R&B for folks who wanna feel young and with-it. (That's a project in contrast with that of Ne-Yo, who makes young-and-with-it R&B for kids who wanna feel grown and sexy.) On each of his three records -- including the latest, last year's Evolver -- Legend sings about making relationships last and how much cooler peace is than war, over relentlessly crafty arrangements that swirl live-band warmth with sleek sample science. Tonight at the Gibson, expect him to flex those live-band bona fides. Opener Estelle translated her stardom at home in England into a stateside breakthrough last year, thanks to "American Boy," her delightful Top 40 smash about fancying a ride on the subway instead of the Tube.
Tue., Jan. 13, 8:15 p.m., 2009