Maxwell pays tribute to Prince at Brooklyn homecoming concert
Jimmy Kimmel Live

Maxwell paid tribute to Prince and victims of gun violence as he returned home to Brooklyn to perform at the new Coney Island Amphitheater on July 9, 2016 in New York City. “I am from Brooklyn,” he proudly proclaimed onstage. “I used to take the J train. When you come home, you know who you are. I know who I am.” Pride in his hometown was a constant theme throughout Maxwell's magnetic 90 minute show, as he continually proclaimed his love for Brooklyn. He added, “Thank you for having me back home.”

The R&B veteran opened the show with a remembrance of Prince, playing a recording of “Kiss” before he hit the stage. Later in the show he said, “2016 has been a bizarre year. We lost many special people.” Then he sang “Nothing Compares 2 U” in tribute to Prince. Reprising his BET Awards performance, Maxwell updated the lyrics in homage to Prince: "It's been 7 hours and 66 days since you took your music away…I went to the record store, Apple, Spotify too, and they told me 'Boy you'd better try to make some music, which you can't do --'cause Prince is the truth!...This is for Prince.”

Maxwell is an artist with a social conscience, as displayed in his opening video featuring images of civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks. During his concert, he referred to the violence dominating the news headlines. “There is a lot going on in the world about lives matter," he said. "I send out a prayer to the victims of injustice. I have a strong opinion about how guns are ruining our society. This song goes out to the families who lost loved ones,” and then sang “Lifetime,” a song about overcoming obstacles.

Maxwell released his fifth studio album blackSUMMERS'night on July 1, 2016, and he expressed his gratitude for his fans waiting seven years for new music. “Thank you for having patience because I take a long time.” Regarding his new CD, he said, “My character on the album has understood about marriage. My friends have shown me that sometimes being a prisoner of love to someone else is the freest you can be. This is dedicated to my married friends, and he performed a new song from the album, “Hostage.” He followed “Hostage” with his 2002 Kate Bush cover “This Woman’s Work,” earning an ecstatic standing ovation. As the crowd continued its thunderous applause, Maxwell said, “20 years we’ve been together. Thank you so much.”

The 43 year-old singer was happiest performing his latest single, “Lake By The Ocean,” singing with a joyous smile as he danced across the stage. Maxwell told the crowd to imagine him with an Afro and an Afro pick in his hair (his look when he debuted in 1996) as he went back to his debut album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite. “I dedicate this song to my best friend Michelle," he commented. "Before I put out my first record, she said, ‘You’re gonna be OK.’” He brought the crowd to its feet with “Sumthin Sumthin," and continued the party with “Get to Know Ya” from 2001. Then Maxwell segued to seduction mode, crooning the most sensual song in his repertoire, "Fortunate,” as each lyric was echoed by the crowd in a massive singalong. Once again, Maxwell returned to the beginning of his career. "Let's go back to 1996, back when we started.” After one note, the crowd suddenly took control, singing "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" a cappella, to his amazement. “This is crazy,” he said, and then proceeded to pull out his phone and declare, “You’re on Snapchat” as he videotaped the crowd.

Maxwell closed with his 2010 Grammy Award winning “Pretty Wings” as adoring female fans lined up at the front of the stage, begging for his attention. He gratefully shook hands, high-fived, posed for photos, autographed CDs and posters, and repeated how he could not believe the love he was receiving. “This is crazy, I still don’t get it.” As he brought his seven musicians and one female vocalist forward for final bows, he left with his final words of gratitude. “Thank you so much for making me proud to be from Brooklyn.”