SAN FRANCISCO — Alicia Keys brought her Alicia+Keys 2022 World Tour to Chase Center Saturday, supporting not one but two albums she released during the pandemic. The staging was meant to focus attention onto the music and she shined in that respect, displaying amazing musicianship, strong vocals and dynamic stage presence.
Keys was in fine form, kicking off the concert to a near capacity crowd (two shows originally scheduled for the Masonic were combined into this one) with “Nat King Cole,” from her 2021 album, Keys, Walking onto the stage through a portal backlit with white light and wearing a silver sequined crop top with black sequined pants and a transparent taffeta trench coat, Keys had her hair pulled back in a long, gilded ponytail. Eventually approaching her moveable grand piano, she finished the song with a piano interlude.
Immediately, Keys picked up the mic again and addressed the crowd at length, requesting that the audience “have fun and be free with me,” before taking a seat at the piano again for her Kanye-West-produced hit, “You Don’t Know My Name.” Keys belted out the lyrics to the song while simultaneous playing the luminescent piano, then stepped back out from behind it for a coquettish delivery of the spoken interlude of the bridge.
The next song was reggae-inspired groove “Wasted Energy,” from 2020’s Alicia. Keys danced to the music and sang beautifully as she transitioned over to a keyboard, nodding her head as she led the band. Keys was backed by another singer, a bassist, guitarist, drummer and keyboardist, all dressed in black.
Keys danced and sang to Alicia‘s “Time Machine.” At the bridge, she returned to the keyboard to add some effects to the synths before transitioning into “Karma,” from 2003’s The Diary of Alicia Keys. The band supported the majority of the song while she belted away at center stage, before smoothly strolling over to finish the song on the piano by herself.
Keys immediately rolled into “A New Day.” She slowed the pace down with “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)” and “Diary,” before following those up with two more Alicia singles, “So Done” and “Show Me Love.”
At this point Keys left the stage while the band jammed to a jazzy cover of Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall.” She reappeared on a small B-stage in the middle of the arena floor. Now wearing a black and white bomber jacket and bedazzled du-rag and surrounded by three different keyboards, Keys launched into her collaboration with DJ Khaled and Nicki Minaj, “Nobody,” followed by “Plentiful.” She subsequently commenced an “Apollo-Theater-style” test of original songs versus “Unlocked” versions from Keys: “Skydive,” “Is It Insane” and “Only You.” The originals were piano-driven, while the “unlocked” versions were poppy remixes with upbeat percussion.
Keys then returned to the hits, playing Usher’s intro to “My Boo” to a loudly cheering audience before launching into her own vocals in the duet. Following “Unbreakable,” Keys launched into “City of Gods” and “Empire State of Mind.” After making her way back to the main stage and to her piano, she got to “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart,” “Girl on Fire,” “Superwoman” and “Fallin’.” An encore included “In Common” and “No One.”
Philadelphia artist Pink Sweat$ opened the show with a raw, bare-bones performance featuring just him and an acoustic guitarist. Pink Sweat$‘ clear and strong tenor and falsetto tones dominated the performance. Wearing a sweat suit, he sung charting singles like “At My Worst” and Tori Kelly collaboration “Real Thing.”