R&B’s Missing Piece Was Found At Ledisi’s Good Life Tour

In recent years, many fans ran with the narrative that R&B was dead—when in actuality, the genre has simply been missing something that the everyday fan couldn’t identify because it wasn’t just one thing. The “one thing” they were craving was music they could relate to, dance to, sing along with, and get them to feel all the feelings and process them. 

We found all of that on Saturday, April 13 at Los Angeles’ YouTube Theater. Starting at 8 o’clock on the dot with not a minute wasted, Ledisi and Raheem DeVaughn kicked off the sold-out, three-hour penultimate show of her Good Life Tour. DeVaughn began his soulful set by kissing a single rose and tossing it into the crowd at an admiring fan. In an age where both romance and chivalry are scarce, he was suave, seductive, and embodied a crooner ready to serenade.

The self-proclaimed Love King of soul and R&B cheekily welcomed all the “virgins” seeing him for the first time, emphasizing how his set would keep love at the forefront. After opening with “Countdown To Love” from 2015’s Love Sex Passion, he dedicated “Let’s Fall In Love,” “Mo’ Better,” and a cover of Babyface’s “Whip Appeal” to all the couples before switching into a more sultry gear, catering to “all the beautiful, single ladies.”

Noel Vasquez/YouTube Theater

For a brief moment, the mood turned sour as DeVaughn performed “Temperature’s Rising,” which samples R. Kelly’s “It Seems Like You’re Ready.” Though Kelly’s public reckoning and cancellation after getting convicted on sex trafficking and child pornography charges occurred years prior, some still can’t stomach the sound of his once-beloved slow jams. We witnessed some women singing along while others twisted in their seats, murmuring to their friends. 

It didn’t take much for DeVaughn and his gyrating to be seen as redemptive, as he practically pleaded with attendees to get back to good ol’ loving, noting “I believe you should love someone to the point of being ridiculous”—a perfect segue into his 2013 ballad, “Ridiculous.”

He then peaked into his “goodie bag” and pulled out a few props like handcuffs, baby oil, and a widely popular rose-shaped vibrator to “properly welcome in cuffing season.” Truthfully, some of today’s male R&B contemporaries need to study DeVaughn’s methods on how to effectively serenade and seduce a crowd because some front-row attendees were practically falling over seats to get past the stage’s barricades and we’re also pretty sure someone actually did throw their panties at the crooner mid-set. 

Raheem DeVaughn Ledis Good Life tour recap

Noel Vasquez/YouTube Theater

The most pearl-clutching moment of his set was when he called his music “audio viagra,” stripped down to a tank top, fell to his knees, and drenched himself in water—simulating how he likes his lady to feel during those passionate, private moments. An audible gasp was heard, but some questioned Watergate 2024 because many were entertained albeit confused as to where the water came from and how it dried up so quickly. It felt as though he had performed a magic trick, but he did speak to the gentlemen in the crowd, telling them not to be “intimidated” by the props on stage. “I encourage you to try these fancy tricks at home. I’m not Mr. Steal Your Girl. I’m Mr. Make You Feel Your Girl,” DeVaughn joked.

Before concluding and making way for Ledisi, everyone rose for his 2008 anthem, “Woman” and DeVaughn confirmed his intent to return to the stage in 2025 for the 20th anniversary of his debut album, The Love Experience.

Ledisi’s set was far more wholesome than her opening act, but just as entertaining. Unlike DeVaughn’s yearning for the embrace of love and lust, Ledisi’s show was the epitome of communal feel-good.

The songstress stressed her gratitude for her longevity and the importance of making your life a good one. She sprinkled encouraging gems and humorous anecdotes throughout her set by telling the audience, “Any relationship in your life needs to be adding to you, not taking away from you” and “That’s what makes life good—the lessons.” It was like a much-needed hug after a period of isolation—welcoming, comforting, and cathartic. 

Though we didn’t need to be told because she was riffing and running into the heavens, she let it be known that all was her—no need to lip-sync. “It’s just me and God. There’s not a lot of singers out there like me no more. So when you see us, you better appreciate us,” she quipped as the crowd cheered in agreement. 

Ledisi opened her nostalgic show with the empowering jam “Alright” from 2007’s Lost & Found. Gliding down memory lane in her sparkling plum-colored jumpsuit, she entranced fans with her timeless classics like “Think Of You,” “High,” “Magic (Voila),” “Add To Me,” “Anything For You,” and the late Aretha Franklin’s favorite, “Pieces Of Me.” 

“You know how R&B used to feel?” she asked rhetorically midway. “It used to feel good even in your dysfunction. The goal of [her latest album] was to make people feel good.” When introducing “Hello Love,” the final track on the LP, she explained that she wrote it because “we never congratulate ourselves when we get through the storm” and that moment served as another example of the true meaning of soul music. It’s not just about romantic partnership, but also preserving self-love. 

As she neared the end of her set, Ledisi put a spotlight on her team: musician Xavier Lynn and supporting vocalists, Sara Williams and David Michael Wyatt. Someone even shouted, “that background singer ain’t something to play with,” referring to Williams. Wyatt had many, us included, ready for more R&B duets while Lynn displayed why he has a permanent invite to the cookout. One highlight about old-school R&B was that you were forced to be present during live performances, and Ledisi wanted to bring that way of living into the new school as she urged viewers to put their phones down for a minute and just experience the now. Those who ignored the request did get called out, but it was all in good fun.

Ledisi Good Life tour recap

Noel Vasquez/YouTube Theater

If you’ve ever heard sangers with roots in the church perform, then you know an impromptu praise break is always on the horizon and Ledisi absolutely took some time to thank God. “Thank you for today, yesterday, what I couldn’t understand. It’s not awards, relevancy—at the end of all of this, did I do enough? Show enough empathy, love, forgiveness? At the end of this, all I wanna hear is ‘Well done,’” she expressed as hands shot up to the sky.

We fully expected the show to end with an offering request after the benediction came in the form of a hymn cover, but Ledisi continued with two more fan favorites: “Good Year” and “I Blame You.” Overall, R&B has been lacking soundtracks to feeling good, being grown in love, and the mystique that once enveloped the romantic pursuit. Thankfully, DeVaughn and Ledisi provided all of that—and the live vocal aspect was just the cherry on top.