OAKLAND, Calif. Rhythm of Love wasn't just the name of the traveling show featuring R&B performers Will Downing, Chanté Moore, Phil Perry and Gerald Albright that came to town Saturday night it also was the prevailing mood of the capacity crowd at the Paramount Theatre.
"I want you to get next to your loved one," Downing urged the crowd before he began singing, and plenty of audience members complied.
Perry, formerly of the Montclairs, opened the three-hour concert, and his smooth tenor quickly got the crowd on their feet. He sang cuts off albums ranging from his 1980 solo debut, Heart of the Man, to his March release, My Book of Love (RealAudio excerpt of title track).
He was followed by Moore, who was dressed elegantly in an orange sequined dress. Moore proceeded to belt out such tunes as "Love's Taken Over" (RealAudio excerpt) and "It's Alright" (RealAudio excerpt), from her 1992 album, Precious, and "This Time" (RealAudio excerpt), from 1994's A Love Supreme.
Following Moore's set, jazzman Albright took the stage. The saxophonist began playing a wide array of romantic music, ranging from "Amazing," which was made a hit by Luther Vandross, to "My My My," which Johnny Gill covered on his self-titled 1990 album.
The same onstage band backed all the singers' sets, a move that drew praise from concertgoer Sharon Norwood, 32, of Hayward, Calif.
"I liked how [the music] was nonstop, as they [all] used the same band," she said.
Albright came back on stage to back Downing at various times during the latter's performance. Downing, sharply dressed in a light gray suit, playfully engaged the audience between his songs. His smooth, mellow voice reverberated through the theater on "Wishing on a Star," the old Rose Royce hit he covered on his 1989 album, Come Together As One, and two songs from All the Man You Need, due July 18.
When Moore returned to sing a duet with Downing on one of the upcoming album's songs, the two faced each other like lovers in a trance as they belted out the ballad's lyrics.
When Downing took a break, Albright returned and said he had the blues and was going to play them. He then launched into "Georgia on My Mind" (RealAudio excerpt of an earlier live performance).
Downing came back onstage and began singing "Stop, Look, Listen to Your Head" (RealAudio excerpt), from the 1998 album he recorded with Albright, Pleasures of the Night.
The night wound down with a finale in which Downing, Albright, Moore and Perry all came out at once to perform.
"It was a good concert, even though [the set by] Phil Perry was too short," Norwood said. "I especially liked the finale and how they had everyone on the stage. This made the night go fast, as it was constant music."