A concert on a plane?
Let me get this straight: a concert where someone will actually be performing live on an airplane? Well, yes — please put me down to cover that!
On Thursday morning (February 7), my good friend Sway and I hit New York’s JFK airport for a flight to Los Angeles, where we’ll be covering the Grammys this weekend . To celebrate their new partnership with the Grammy Awards, Delta invited a few dozen contest winners onboard to watch five-time Grammy winner John Legend perform on the airline’s new Grammy plane as he headed west for the ceremony and its surrounding festivities. Legend will perform a duet with Fergie at the show, it was announced earlier this week.
At about 6:54 a.m., Legend boarded the flight. He put up a peace sign and said a quick hello while he and his entourage went to first-class; the contest winners and media types sat in coach. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of aircraft we would be travelling in — would it be one of those multi-level jets like we saw in “Snakes on a Plane”? (Er, maybe that’s a bad reference.) It turned out to be a regular jet, no different from one you might fly to Disney World in.
A little while later, Legend emerged from behind the stage curtain — well, it was actually a curtain separating coach from first-class, but he did have a small area set up for him in front of row 19. He had a keyboard with a mic, a guitarist on his right and two backup singers on his left. The contest winners who hailed from various parts of the country including Detroit, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and New York all applauded.
“This is new for me tonight,” Legend said, before quickly correcting himself: “This morning. It feels like tonight! This is a first. We’re gonna have some fun. Is that all right?”
His lead song? The oh-so-appropriate “Get Lifted.”
“Come on and go with me,” he sang. “There’s something new for you to see. … Just relax. Just relax.”
Even in front of a crowd much smaller than he’s used to these days, the Ohio native did not air-mail in his set. He seemed intent on delivering his notes with pristine precision as if he were on tour.
He followed “Save Room” with “P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care),” prefacing the song with a joke about making love in public places like “airplane restrooms: ’We just don’t care.’ ”
“I rarely do shows this early and I never do shows this high up,” laughed after “I Used to Love You.”
The final number was “Ordinary People.” With his guitarist and background singers back in their seats, Legend sang by himself, getting another round of applause when he was done.
“Thank you very much,” he said before going back behind the see-through blue curtain leading to backstage — er, first-class.
Legend is about two-thirds done with his next LP, he revealed during the flight. Pharrell Williams, Will.I.Am and Andre 3000 are already onboard for the effort, and Kanye West will be checking in soon.
Don’t sleep until February 10 — geek out on the Grammys with MTV News’ complete coverage right here!