Hello my funny valentines! And for those of you who are opting out this year, know that it will be over in two shakes of a conversations hearts box.

That’s one good thing about Valentine’s Day. There’s not really a “season,” it’s more of a flash-in-the-pan type of thing, despite the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate that started cropping up in early January. By Saturday, they’ll be on clearance and we can start thinking about St. Patrick’s Day.

That said, grab your honey, or your bestie or even just yourself and head out for some live music. Because it just so happens that this Valentine’s Day there are two shows that have got me more excited than all the long-stem roses in the world. And you know something? I think I’m gonna hit both of them.

Lady Zen will surround herself with a cast of musicians and dancers and pay homage to the one and only Sade. VJ Foo will be on hand as well, doing video awesomeness. What’s crazy is that Sade’s debut record, “Diamond Life,” was released THIRTY years ago. What? “Smooth Operator” is three decades old? I can’t even …

Five albums have followed, most recently 2010’s “Soldier of Love.” Man alive, the title track is gorgeous and our gal Sade’s still got the sweet pipes. As for Lady Zen, she told me Sade has always inspired her with her use of language, cinematography and her undeniable beauty. “I would have to say that Sade is in my top five of all-time female performers that I admire.” Zen traces it back to the early ’90s. “I remember watching the videos on MTV. “No Ordinary Love” stopped me in my tracks – the whole mermaid theme.”

Zen further explained that there will be a video spread of about 20 feet behind the stage, adding to the show’s fabulousness. She also told me that although most people don’t know this (myself included), Sade has a new album just out and Zen will be singing two tracks from it.


“This is the biggest show I have ever put together,” says Zen. I for one can’t wait to see it.

Lady Zen sings Sade. 9:30 p.m. Friday. Empire. 575 Congress St. Portland. $10 in advance; $12 day of show; 21-plus. portlandempire.com

DON’T EXPECT THEM to fill the world with silly love songs, but do expect to have your heart strings pulled taut and released several times over the course of the evening. Roots and blues man Samuel James and Erin “dilly dilly” Davidson have quite a show planned for Valentine’s night.

They’ll each do a solo set of tunes “for the loved and lonesome, for him and her,” as they’ve put it. The piece de resistance will be the finale, when the pair will duet on a song that is being kept secret. James solicited suggestions on his Facebook page a few weeks ago and they poured in, including mine for “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. But who knows what they’ll do.

Adding to the loveliness is the fact that sirens Sara Hallie Richardson and Megan Jo Wilson will be singing backup for dilly.

Samuel James and dilly dilly. 8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square. 181 State St., Portland. $10 in advance; $12 day of show. onelongfellowsquare.com

Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455or at:

[email protected]


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