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Raheem DeVaughn evokes Marvin Gaye at Wolf Trap

The spirit of legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye was alive and well at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, on Saturday, August 14th. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Gaye's 1971 landmark album, What's Going On, soul singer Raheem DeVaughn, and a few special friends, paid homage to Mr. Gaye for a one-night-only performance. DeVaughn's friends included Daley, Eric Roberson, Yahzarah, Bee Boisseau, Attinshun Band, and Micah Robinson.

The Chuck Brown Band opened the show with a lively Go-Go set that kept the crowd on their feet for the entire set. Selections from the Chuck Brown set included "Chuck Baby," "Run Joe," and an energetic cover of Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me." After a brief intermission, our master of ceremonies, Washington D.C. based everyman Wes Felton, entertained the crowd with lively banter.

Rae Brown was up first and performed an elegant spoken-word piece that set the mood for the night. Raheem DeVaughn opened the showed in attire similar to what Gaye would have worn in 1971. DeVaughn performed a passionate cover of "What's Going On" as the opener, that then transitioned into "Marvin Used To Say."

Hearing "Marvin Used To Say" live hit a little differently, considering everything going on in the world today. Raheem then performed "Mo Betta" from his 2008 sophomore album "Love Behind the Melody." I was surprised that DeVaughn added this song to his setlist until he informed the audience that the song's inspiration hails from the book of Marvin Gaye. Frankly, "Mo Betta" is one of my all-time favorite Raheem DeVaughn songs, so I was happy he performed it. The rest of the concert included artists performing hits from Gaye's catalog and adding their spin.

As a die-hard fan of Eric Roberson, it was great to see him back on stage, while Daley's performance of "Got to Give It Up" had me on my feet. Overall, the show was time well spent, despite a few minor gripes. The sequencing of the show and the transition from artist to artist was a little off, in my opinion. Furthermore, while I enjoy Go-Go music, I did feel that the opening act's set was a little too long. However, given that the venue just went back to full capacity shows, it is understandable that everyone’s still getting back into the swing of things.

Nevertheless, celebrating the iconic singer/songwriter behind hits such as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Sexual Healing," and "Let's Get It On," is a huge undertaking. Thankfully, Raheem DeVaughn and his friends successfully achieved their goal.

Final Grade: B-


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