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"I know this is date night for some of you," American R&B singer John Legend said to his audience Monday at his concert opening the Byblos International Festival.Whether uptempo R&B grooves or slow pop ballads, Legend's tunes can sound generic. Concert performances can amplify this issue, particularly on up-tempo songs, which are often remixed with heavy instrumentation against a pounding beat. Legend's voice is smooth, impeccably clean and pure, without the rasps, melismas, or other vocal dressings commonly heard in R&B or gospel.After "Love in the Future's" funky "Save the Night," the vocalist stepped away for a quick break, leaving it to his two backup singers to fill the time.As Legend began playing the opening chords on the piano, the audience rose to its feet and joined him from the first word to the very end. It was no longer just a man, his voice and piano, but a thousand backup singers, to whom Legend occasionally gave way to sing the choruses fluently.
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