D’Angelo Makes First U.S. Appearance Since 2000

R&B singer D’Angelo is officially back! The last word heard from the soul singer was from an interview with GQ magazine last month, but the reclusive singer made a surprise appearance at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee late Saturday night/early Sunday morning June 9-10, solidifying his presence back on the music scene.

Saturday night’s “Superjam” concert was to be headlined by The Roots drummer Questlove and to include “very special guests.” A few hours after The Roots finished their set on the main stage, Questlove introduced the R&B legend, saying, “I’ve been waiting 12 years to say this: Ladies and gentleman, D’Angelo!”

D’Angelo performed for over an hour with Quest and accompanied by a band. They opened with “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” by Jimi Hendrix, and included songs such as the Beatles’ “She Came Through the Bathroom Window.” After the performance, D’Angelo spoke with MTV News about his vision for the performance as he returned to the U.S. stage:

“What I wanted to do was recreate the magic of the songwriting process at the time when I was taking residency in Electric Lady Studios,” he explained, referencing Jimi Hendrix’s studio facility built in New York’s West Village in 1970. “I made that my central location from 1996 ’til about 2004, and during that time that’s where D’Angelo’s Voodoo album as created, Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides was created, and even some of Phrenology and The Tipping Point was created,” he explained. “That was really the central location for our soul querying catalog, so what I’ve done [for the Superjam] is gathered a cast of characters to show what a night in that period was like.”

He went on the explain what a night of recording in Electric Lady Studios would entail:

“Around 3 a.m., we would sit around bored and decide what album to re-do,” he reminisced. “So let’s say Prince’s Under the Cherry Moon album – we would get in the studio and karaoke-style do the album from start to finish. But if at any point we started playing something that sounded good, we kept playing the groove over it, then all the music would go away, the drums would still go … and it slowly morphed into another song. That was our songwriting process. So tonight, eight musicians of historical significance will be on stage and when we’re in that circle, it’s just gonna be the eight of us. I’m not even gonna look at the thousands of people watching.”

The next time fans will be able to see the soul musician perform will be at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans next month. This was just an appetizer to keep fans fed and ready for more.