Scatting and swooping her way through the night, Anita Baker turned Radio City Music Hall into a smoky jazz club during the first of two concerts on her farewell tour Wednesday.
“I want you to understand what that means as I’m exiting my business,” said the Grammy-winning R&B diva, 61, thanking the audience for demanding a second night after her initial Valentine’s Day concert sold out.Sounding stronger than ever — easily better than her records — Baker gave the crowd the best that she’s got.
Taking the stage to LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” and then “Mystery” — off her classic 1986 album “Rapture” — Baker then took it to the next level with “Sweet Love,” one of her signature hits. She let the eager audience — including lots of cuddling couples on Valentine’s eve — sing it to her first before sitting them down and singing it right back to them.
Other highlights included “Caught Up in the Rapture of Love,” with the New York City skyline providing the backdrop on a video screen, and “Lead Me Into Love,” from 1988’s “Giving You the Best That I Got” album. She dedicated the latter to the late jazz keyboardist George Duke, who played piano on the studio version.