The thing about Seal (born Seal Samuel) is this: they simply don’t make versatile singers like him anymore.
It had been well over a decade since he last played Toronto, yet the iconic UK artist didn’t miss a beat at Massey Hall. While sharing anecdotes between songs about living in Canada years prior, one couldn’t help observe how he patrolled the stage, right to the corners, making unbroken eye contact with audience members.
It all made for a commanding presence, especially for an evening that saw him perform his first two albums (Seal I & Seal II) almost verbatim – and to unsurprising rapturous reactions. Even early on, much of the seated venue rose above their chairs and remained so, basking in the gravitas of Seal’s voice for two hours.
Outfitted in cherry red and backed by The Buggles Trevor Horn (who opened the show), Seal proceeded with the goods. Upon delivering his seminal tunes Crazy and The Beginning right from the top, he segued nicely with Bring It On forcing fans of all ages to keep on their feet and dance unapologetically.
In covering Adamski’s 1990 club classic Killer Seal took charisma even further by jumping off stage and taking attendees under his arm. In song and gestures combined, it was clear Seal came to Toronto to put on a great show.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Seal show without his massive 1995 hit Kiss from a Rose. Complimented by powerful yet vulnerable singing (his falsetto swoops especially stirring) and a wallop of melodic chord changes and strings – it proved just as memorable live as it was more than 25 years ago.
In the end, celebrating three decades of Seal is what the night delivered. With deft showmanship and outreached arms to his fans, there is no way anyone exited Massey Hall without feeling connected with the man himself.