Raheem DeVaughn at The Birchmere
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Concert Review: Raheem DeVaughn at The Birchmere

Washington D.C.-based singer Raheem DeVaughn was welcomed home with open arms at The Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia, on Friday, January 28. The singer, affectionately known as The Love King or Radio Raheem, was initially due to perform at the venue on August 20, 2020, and March 19, 2021. However, due to COVID, he was forced to delay the show dates. Thankfully, all tickets were honored at the new date, and the sold-out crowd finally got the chance to see DeVaughn grace the stage.

Dressed in a dapper two-piece suit, DeVaughn promptly took the stage at 7:30 and opened his show with “I Don’t Care” from his third album, The Love & War MasterPeace. The song, which Ne-Yo wrote, was the perfect way to kick off the evening, and the crowd partook in all of the energy that DeVaughn had to share. I was particularly impressed when DeVaughn mixed Luther Vandross’s classic “Never Too Much” into the performance as well.

DeVaughn kept the vibrancy going as he took the crowd back to the first album, The Love Experience, for an energetic performance of the album’s lead single, “Guess Who Loves You More.” Kudos to DeVaughn for featuring a screen in the background displaying a question mark tied to the song’s themes. Additionally, his band showed off their instrumentation skills with Go-Go transitions throughout the song, and a snippet of the Earth, Wind & Fire concert staple “Can’t Hide Love”, of which “Guess Who Loves You More” samples.

DeVaughn kept the vibe of paying homage to the elders when he sang the opening of James Brown’s “A Man’s World,” which set the stage for the singer to perform a new song, titled “When A Man.” Devaughn then performed selections from his more recently released albums. Highlights included “Special Occasion” from What A Time To Be In Love  and “Countdown To Love” from Love, Sex & Passion

After a few more up-tempo numbers and a cover of Mary J. Blige’s take on the Rose Royce classic “I’m Going Down,” DeVaughn was ready to perform his slow jams. The love King kicked off the slow jam section of his show by performing his portion of last year’s The Secret Garden remake, where he collaborated with fellow singers Omar Wilson, Sisqo, and Shawn Stockmen. DeVaughn then effortlessly shifted to “Bob” before closing the show with “Customer.”

DeVaughn has released numerous mixtapes and nine studio albums throughout his seventeen-year career. While the singer graced the stage for two hours, there were some notable omissions from his setlist, particularly my favorites “Mo Better,” “Pink Crush Velvet,” and “Ridiculous.” Be that as it may, DeVaughn is a lively performer who stays in synch with his band, caters to the ladies, and never disappoints. With a dedication to the craft of live performing, DeVaughn can always count on my support whenever he performs a show in the DMV.

Final Grade: A-

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