Music review: John Legend, Glasgow Hydro

John Legend is a smooth operator. Musically, a touch too smooth. The La La Land star is a traditional soul crooner who sticks to the middle of the road. His Darkness and Light tour offered up a slick, bland take on the righteous r & b of the Stax and Motown stables, with a dash of reflected cool from his hip-hop collaborations, served with all the zing of a non-alcoholic cocktail.

John Legend PIC: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

John Legend ***

Hydro, Glasgow

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Tellingly, he had to invite the Friday night crowd to get to their feet without giving them anything to stand up for – not the tasteful tribal rhythms and glossy one world visuals of Love Me Now, nor the bombastic but vacuous pop/rock backing of Made to Love.

He tried some fancy stuff with the lighting and stage set at the expense of feeling and intimacy, shared a bit too much footage of his home life along with a thankfully non-sentimental soul song for his toddler daughter but created the evening’s only real ripple of excitement by appealing for a dance partner from the crowd.

His lack of stimulating original material was only made more explicit by his faithfully funky cover of Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly but eventually he turned the room into date night with ­old-fashioned love ballad Ordinary People.

It was obvious from the swaying couples that his encore number All Of Me is his pension song, but the soul power really punched through in his Oscar-winning modern gospel anthem Glory.