"There are two kinds of audiences: the sing-along kind, and the dirty, lowdown, no good for nothin', not-sing-along kind," he taunted. "Which kind are you?"
He even had five couples brought up to sit on love seats onstage.
"I want this to feel like your living room," Legend said.
The audience was generally younger than the crowds that some shows draw to the Wells Fargo Center.
"I've been a huge fan of John Legend since I was 19, when his first album came out," said Philippa Lockwood, now 28, of Santa Rosa.
"He's a great musician," said Corey Wright, 29, of Cotati. "It's soul."
Legend, 35, is touring with his current and biggest hit, "All of Me," a straight-forward voice and piano love song to his wife, Chrissy Teigen, a Sports Illustrated swimwear model.
Backed by a string quartet, Legend sang and played piano on a romantically lit set that seemed more like an exclusive nightclub than a living room .
Born John Roger Stephens, the singer and songwriter has built his career as John Legend, collaborating with Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z. His TV appearances range from "Dancing With the Stars" to "Sesame Street." Currently, he's a judge on the ABC music show "Duets."
Billed as intimate, acoustic and stripped-down, Legend's "All of Me" tour, with a sound free of the studio technical effects evident on some of his earlier recordings, kicked off in Temecula in late March and stops in Costa Mesa tonight for another sold-out show.