by Rachel Swan
Originally packaged as a cute gimmick, soul titan Stevie Wonder signed to Motown Records in 1961; back then he was a gangly blind eleven-year-old bopping around the stage in aviator sunglasses. It soon became clear that this kid had enough chops to change the face of R&B forever. Characterized by the herky-jerky dance moves that belied his preternatural sense of rhythm, Stevie Wonder could switch from vocals to harmonica to piano to drums in the course of a single song, busting killer solos on each. He came to embody the giddy, groove-driven sound of Motown in the 1960s. So far nobody's been able to match Stevie Wonder at the particular kind of pop music that he does; his chord changes seem rather sophisticated for the medium, and his splendid melismatic alto is difficult to emulate. Not to mention he's the only singer who can bust a seemingly unremarkable lyric like I don't want to bore you with this, but ooh I love you, I love you, I love you-ooo-ou and sound brutishly sincere. Stevie Wonder performs Sunday, August 26 at the Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord. The show kicks off at 7:30 p.m.; tickets cost $45.50 - $65.50 for upper level seating, or $99.50 - $125.00 for the lower level.