CeeLo Green will bring his holiday hits to Center Stage. Photo: Getty Images

CeeLo Green comes home for holiday concert at Center Stage

The soul singer plans to evoke varied emotions at Christmas show

CeeLo Green is currently basking in the not-exactly-winter temperatures of Miami, where he moved about three years ago.

Relax, Atlantans. Green still calls Atlanta home as well, and on Friday he will perform his “Holiday Hits” tour at Center Stage, which he definitely considers a homecoming.

While it’s been seven years since the soul man released his “CeeLo’s Magic Moment” Christmas album — which landed on the R&B charts with his versions of “Mary, Did You Know?” and “What Christmas Means to Me” — Green never toured behind the holiday record.

With his typically distinctive style, the 44-year-old pop culture savant — who also announced a new residency that starts in March at the Flamingo Las Vegas and will have more news to share in early 2020 — plans to dust his holiday concert with elements not synonymous with Christmas concerts.

During a recent chat from Miami, the loquacious and thoughtful Green shared his thoughts on the holiday and what fans can expect from his live presentation.

Q: This is your first Christmas tour, so what do you plan to do to make it special?

A: It’s been kind of slated as CeeLo’s holiday hits, but I’ve been calling it the melancholy Christmas show. It puts you in the mood of those many mixed emotions that I make music from. It’s not an exclusive performance of “CeeLo’s Magic Moment.” It’s covers and songs that aren’t even seasonal, but they have a spirit and a likeness. I do believe that the reality is that we’re not as festive as the Christmas spirit. Sometimes Christmas can be the saddest season for some people, like a single parent household trying to provide those memories for their family. I would like to display that variety.

Q: Can you elaborate a little on what the variety will be?

A: I do “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed — that’s one of my favorite songs. I discovered that song in (the movie) “Trainspotting.” That’s when the synergy and connection was made for me. There’s a visual that comes to life. And it’s a stunning piece of music. For me to know something about Lou’s life, I get it. He was struggling with an addiction. It’s a testament of love and faith and solidarity with someone. That could be seen as the Christmas spirit. I’m like a big, lovable guy. I think my music is the softest and the sweetest part of me. I really care a lot for people to be enlightened and lifted up. Music and the arts, they salvaged me. As a soul, I feel like I’m morally obligated in some way to be joy and optimism and hope for anybody with the sound of my voice. I feel that’s the purpose for me.

CeeLo Green released his holiday album in 2012.

Q: How about the production?

A: There isn’t a big production. It’s a happy medium between live musicianship and tracking. I think it’s a nice blend and a nice balance. We’ll be adorned in the Christmas colors. It lends itself more to a play than to a performance. I would love all of my fans to embrace this disclaimer and you come in and you sit and have the opportunity to interpret something and read between the lines. I’m telling a story with the playlist — like CeeLo’s Pandora station.

Q: Tell me about the fun of doing a show like this compared to a regular concert.

A: There’s a specialty to any CeeLo Green show. I think people are enamored somewhat with my brand. You never know what to expect or what you’ll discover. It’s all compelling and interesting. I think people realize I am intelligent in a way that I know this is significant, and that if it means something to him, if he’s committed, let me commit to him. It’s special because we’re doing it for the first time and “Magic Moment” has been out for several years and we never thought to tour on the project. This will be the first installment of what we could possibly do annually for years to come. This is just the starting point. I’ve been touring the same set for the last few years now and this will be different and refreshing for me. It’s another space to be in, another series of songs. And then to move on to do Vegas, which is another space all together.

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CONCERT PREVIEW

CeeLo Green

8 p.m. Dec. 13.$30-$115. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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