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music

Stevie Wonder, Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, 7/6/08.

One of my earliest childhood memories ever — come to think of it, this is the first time I’ve seen this clip from Sesame Street in color, since I watched it back in the day on a small black-and-white TV. I don’t think it gets any funkier than this.

Three decades later, I finally saw him live for the first time at the Shoreline, just over the weekend with Joannie and Luna. An amazing concert all around — not quite as tight a band as in the vintage video above, and with an audience a little more sedate than the kid in the red shirt, but with massive amounts of goodwill radiating outward from the stage, it wasn’t hard to be swept up and feel overjoyed. (Despite the odd sequencing, at times: the crowd on their feet with “Higher Ground”, only to sit back down with an extended jam on Chick Corea’s “Spain”. A great reminder, nonetheless, of Wonder’s place as a titan of American popular music, one not “limited” to funk and soul.)

And I can’t pick from my favorite 1-2-3 combos: was it the “Isn’t She Lovely / Ribbon in the Sky / Overjoyed” combination halfway through, or “Signed Sealed Delivered / Sir Duke / I Wish” two hours in? Nevertheless: an unassailable selection of songs, a fantastic concert.

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