Maxwell Brings Soul to the San Francisco Symphony

The GRAMMY winner performs his most iconic hits at Davies Symphony Hall.

Music has always been known to be the language of the soul. It speaks to the heart and transcends all boundaries. And when we talk about soul music, one name that can’t be missed is Maxwell. Since breaking into the scene in 1996 with his debut album, “Urban Hang Suite,” Maxwell has been mesmerizing music lovers with his blend of jazz, R&B, and funk.

Maxwell performs

On August 4, the GRAMMY® award-winning star took to the stage at the renowned Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. The event, titled “Maxwell—Night: The Trilogy Show,” saw the artist put his talents on display in collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony led by Steven Reineke, whose expertise in orchestrating such collaborations allowed Maxwell’s music to be soulfully enriched.

At 7:30 p.m., the lights dimmed and the stage was set for Maxwell to take those fortunate to get tickets on a journey through his nearly 30 years of music. Davies Symphony Hall is an impressive venue that has hosted some of the world’s most renowned artists. Others might have been a bit nervous or overwhelmed, but Maxwell walked out with a swagger and smirk exuding pure readiness. He started the night with classic hits, such as “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” and “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” to an enthusiastic audience. As soon as the first high note dropped, people rose from their seats with some spilling into the aisle to sing and groove along. The stage lights changing colors seemed to align not only with the tempo of the songs but also with the mood of the audience. The synergy between Maxwell’s smooth, sensual vocals and the orchestra’s harmonious melody added a new dimension to his performance.

Maxwell sings

The night ended on a high note with Maxwell delivering his classic, “Pretty Wings,” a powerful ballad about letting a love go to find the joy they deserve in life. Couples held hands, photographers capturing the event ceased working, and arms gently raised above heads glided through the air as everyone repeatedly sang the hook, “Pretty wings, your pretty wings around.” At one point Maxwell gazed out at the crowd and stopped singing to let the audience’s combined sound resonate with the San Francisco Symphony to close out the experience.

Maxwell’s Kool-Aid smile at the end of night made clear his enjoyment of performing his hits with the SF Symphony. He thanked the sold-out crowd for their support and gave a shout-out to the musicians who performed with him that night.


Noël Burgess

Noël Burgess is an East Coaster living in Northern California wine country. His goal is to promote diversity and inclusion in wine, food, and travel with a focus on the places, the products, and most importantly, the people! Noels work can be found in VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Travel & Leisure, Thrillist, San Francisco Magasine, and many other media platforms. Follow him on Instagram @mrnoelburgess and at