Jeffrey Osborne made a welcome return to The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, September 1st, for the first of two shows. After returning home to the DMV in 2007 following my Air Force enlistment, Mr. Osborne has made annual appearances at The Birchmere; however, I never got a chance to go due to either having tickets to another event or the show selling out.
As the country continues to try to return to a slight sense of normalcy amid the pandemic, I finally decided to cross Jeffrey Osborne off my concert bucket list, and I am delighted that I did. Mr. Osborne’s band and background singers were on stage promptly at 7:25 as the house lights began to dim. To my surprise, Mr. Osborne did not enter the stage from the right as most Birchmere performers do.
Instead, Mr. Osborne opened the show already in the crowd with “Stranger,” much to the audience’s delight. A lively cover of The Spinner’s classic, “I’ll Be Around,” was up next, followed by lovely renditions of “Were Going All The Way,” “Eenie Meenie,” and “I’m Only Human.” Osborne’s vocals were in pristine condition, as was his chemistry with his band.
Mr. Osborne then took it back to LTD with “Holdin On,” which gave the venue a seventies juke joint vibe. By the time Mr. Osborne reached “On the Wings of Love” from his 1982 solo debut, he still had an entire arsenal of classic material to work with. Whether it was a song from his solo catalog or something from his days in LTD, any song you wanted to hear, Mr. Osborne performed.
The night also included tributes to his longtime collaborator, the late George Duke, and a funky cover of Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s – “Doing It to Death”. Before closing his set with “Everytime I Turn Around,” Mr. Osborne performed his signature tune, “You Should Be Mine” (The Woo Woo Song). Now, if you have been to a Jeffrey Osborne concert, you know that Mr. Osborne will usually go out into the audience and let the audience perform the song’s hook, which adds to the fun. However, amid the pandemic, Mr. Osborne played it safe and changed up the routine. During this go-round, Mr. Osborne had someone from his team in the audience with a second mic. Moreover, willing audience members were still able to duet with the singer.
Overall, my first time seeing Jeffrey Osborne was a success, and I highly recommend checking him out. I hope that when he returns to the DMV, I can muster up the courage to sing “You Should Be Mine” (The Woo Woo Song).
Final Grade: A
“I’ll Be Around”
“We’re Going All The Way”
“I’m Only Human”
“On The Wings of Love”
“When We Party”
“Share My World”
“George Duke & Fred Wesley Tribute”
“Stay With Me”
“Concrete on You”
“We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love”
“Where Did We Go Wrong”
“You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)”
“Everytime I Turn Around” (Back in Love)”