Britney Spears wasn’t the only one kicking off a tour Thursday night.

Sade, the woman and the band, returned to the U.S. for their first shows in more than a decade to downright ecstatic reviews.

The two-hour, Sophie Muller-directed concert at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena, site of where Rihanna launched her U.S. tour only a few days before, is a visual stunner, according to reviewers.

Rolling Stone’s Evan Serpick felt time had stood still for the British-Nigerian singer, who first appeared on stage in her trademark ponytail and black turtleneck: “And that luxurious, smoky voice – the one that earned Sade (the singer) a reputation as an aural aphrodisiac, the female counterpart to Barry White – is as glorious as ever...The set continued to jump around among the band's six albums, maintaining a flow that highlighted their well-honed formula of diverse, syncopated percussion, jazzy instrumentation and hard-hitting, passionate lyrics, all held together by that one-in-a-million voice.

USA Today’s Korina Lopez
said, “These days, pop stars strutting the stage in barely-there thongs and doing crotch-grabbing routines are common,” wrote Korina Lopez. “So it was refreshing to see a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice just simply singing.”

The Baltimore Sun’s Erik Maza
called  it “the best concert of the year...Rihanna's was good, but it was amateur hour in comparison. U2's will be bigger, but it will not exceed the sheer transcendence of the Sade live experience....The singer, however, did not coast on the adulation of a crowd that would have swooned even if she'd sung Creed covers. Her two-hour show was a success because, after all the flashy, gimmicky shows pop stars have been staging this past year, this was a palette cleanser."

The outing, which supports last year’s “Soldier of Love” album, lasts until mid-September and includes three nights at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Someone was clearly missed.


SETLIST (courtesy of Baltimore Sun)

Soldier Of Love
Your Love Is King
Skin
Kiss Of Life
Love Is Found
In Another Time
Smooth Operator
Jezebel
Bring Me Home
Is It A Crime?
Still In Love With You
All About Our Love
Paradise
Nothing Can Come Between Us
Morning Bird
King Of Sorrow
The Sweetest Taboo
The Moon And The Sky
Pearls
No Ordinary Love
By Your Side

 Encore:
Cherish The Day