Concert recap: Joshua Henry’s ‘Soul Weakness’ at The Triad
Joshua Henry opened his solo concert at the Triad Theater on February 20 singing the words “I’m livin’ my life like it’s golden.” The chorus to Jill Scott’s hit certainly describes Henry’s glowing career on Broadway, as he’s currently starring in the smash revival of Porgy and Bess after coming off a Tony nomination for last season’s The Scottsboro Boys. Even with a featured role in American Idiot in which he had to strip down to his skivvies, Henry is living the high life, which he proved by playing to an adoring crowd who sang along with his set list of soul (and simply soul-touching) songs in an evening titled “Soul Weakness.”
Scott’s good-willed “Golden” kicked off Henry’s jam session, followed by “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” Clearly striking a nerve with the audience, Henry played “What Would I Do If I Could Feel” from The Wiz to giant cheers. James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” gave Henry the chance to strut his confident, yet silly, personality on stage, which was received with delighted squeals.
Perhaps the most anticipated moment of the evening was when Henry inevitably performed “Go Back Home” from Scottsboro Boys. His delicate, moving performance earned him his first Tony nomination and to see him perform the number again, after the show ran so briefly on Broadway, was a rare treat. However, in the spirit of tailoring the concert to his liking, Henry performed the John Kander and Fred Ebb song in a mashup with Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
VIDEO: Watch Joshua Henry sing “Go Back Home” and “A Change Is Gonna Come”
Venturing into some quirky territory, Henry sang a Rosemary Clooney duo “Do You Miss New York,” followed by “Sweet Kentucky Ham,” which found the burly actor pining for some succulent pork. It should come as no surprise the food-centered song elicited laughter from the crowd each time the phrase was sung. Henry then got personal, saying that he is engaged to be married later this year. Ruminating that engagements and marriage “changes everything,” Henry humorously transitioned into Curtis Stigers’ “How Could A Man Take Such A Fall.” Acknowledging all the actors in the audience, Henry described the immense anxiety that strikes a performer in New York when their phone rings, displaying a 212 area code number. “George Lucas? Spielberg? You never know!” The anecdote transitioned into a hilarious narrative song about receiving a callback audition, in which Henry used his iPhone as a prop throughout.
A performance of Henry’s self-written piece, “Long Distance,” ended up being the most unifying moment of the night between audience and performer. The Jason Mraz-ish tune about a long distance relationship had Henry serenading on his electric guitar. Half-way through the song, he called upon the men in the audience to sing the words “long distance” in a melodic phrase and the women to do so in another. With so many actors in the audience ready to sing out, the participation created a surprisingly melodic moment within The Triad, with the entire house singing along to Henry’s guitar. One can only assume it was a remarkable moment for Henry to have a venue full of people singing along and harmonizing to his own lyrics.
VIDEO: Watch Joshua Henry sing “Long Distance”
Wrapping up his set list, Henry sang John Mayer’s hit “Say,” connecting it to his eternally positive attitude. Given Henry’s exuberant reception from his fans throughout the night, it’s no hard task to understand why.
VIDEO: Watch Joshua Henry sing “Say”
Were you at Joshua Henry’s concert, Rushers? What do you think was the best song he performed? What song would you love to hear Henry sing? What has been your favorite performance of his on Broadway so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!