If there is anything that Raphael Saadiq can't do, it is only a slight exaggeration to say that scientists have yet to discover it.
Sing? Check. Pipes of gold.
Write songs? Check. From classic old-school soul ready-mades to new-school R&B bump-and-grind.
Play guitar? Check. He shreds like Ike Turner minus the coke and violence.
Produce? Check. In addition to giving his own records a vintage Motown flavor, he's twiddled the knobs for performers ranging from D'Angelo and Joss Stone to Macy Gray and Mary J. Blige.
Perform? Check. That was more than proven during his 21/2-hour tour de force Thursday night at the Electric Factory.
Oh, and he can also dress himself impeccably.
Saadiq, 45, who got his start in the late '80s with Tony! Toni! Toné!, looked Thursday night as if he had stepped out of a Botany 500 ad from the June '67 issue of Playboy. He arrived on stage in a finely tailored, black double-breasted blazer over a brown turtleneck sweater, a snazzy pair of sharkskin trousers and black Beatle boots, topping off the whole mod ensemble with a jet-black pair of Wayfarers - which he kept on for all of one song, before switching them out for his trademark Clark Kents.
Backed by a crack five-piece and strumming an immaculate white Telecaster, Saadiq kicked off the night with the Smokey Robinsonian "Staying in Love" before launching into a stomping "Heart Attack" and a high-octane "Radio" from his excellent new album Stone Rollin'.
"Philadelphia, I'm startin' to feel ya," he said. "I just like saying Philadelphia, I'm going to say it all night."
He asked the crowd if they loved him. Yes, they most assuredly did. Then he had a more important question: Do you love yourselves? Yes, they did - and he responded with "Sure Hope You Mean It," another hip-swaying retro-R&B classic from 2008's thrice-Grammy-nominated The Way I See It.
By this point he had ditched the turtleneck sweater - which, like the Clark Kents, has become his signature look of late - and stripped down to a black tank top that displayed an impressive and elegantly inked set of guns. Here he dialed down the pace with a stretch of sultry mid-tempo fare like "Never Give You Up" and "Just Me and You."
The former sounded like a great lost Gamble & Huff single and the latter like, in the words of Ron Burgundy, "baby-making music." A fat-bottomed "Stone Rollin' " jiggled in all the right places.
From there, the concert became one long, ecstatic vamp, with Saadiq repeatedly signing off, only to return and launch into another song or strap on the Telecaster and shred a while with his band.
"We don't usually play this long," he said, as they neared the 21/2-hour mark. "But this is the last night of the tour and we just got to play." Nobody complained.