Earth, Wind & Fire in Concert
Friday, September 13, 2013
With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins (conductor)
Songs performed: Revelry for Orchestra, Danse Négre (Hollywood Bowl Orchestra); Boogie Wonderland, Sing a Song, My Promise, Shining Star, Serpentine Fire, Keep Your Head to the Sky, Devotion, Love is Law, That’s the Way of the World, I’ll Write a Song for You, After the Love is Gone, Reasons, Fantasy, Got to Get You Into My Life, September, Dance Floor, Let’s Groove, In the Stone (Earth, Wind & Fire)
Comments: Veteran R&B group, Earth, Wind and Fire, took over the Bowl for three nights last weekend. The group is now going on their 5th decade of making music. Only 3 original members of the group remain (Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey), but they have filled out the band with other talented musicians and singers (including Philip Bailey Jr.). Rolling Stone magazine declared that they “changed the sound of black pop.” They are pioneers in R&B, funk, soul, disco, jazz and rock.
So how does a group that’s been around for so long still pack them in? The songs and the performance. I first saw the group in 1988. This was when Maurice White was still in the group. He has since retired from the group because of health issues. But Philip Bailey has stepped up well as the visible leader. He is an undeniable star — as anyone who has heard him tackling “Reasons” will attest.
I actually saw an EWF cover band this past summer too, but I would still pick the real deal over the cover band. The band is still tight, and plays the songs with energy and enthusiasm. These are songs that still sound great today — “September,” “Let’s Groove” and “Fantasy” (loved the long instrumental intro by the Orchestra). It was nice to hear them sing a few more obscure songs from their catalog like “Keep Your Head to the Sky” and “I Sing a Song of Love.”
The band recently released their first album in 8 years — “Now, Then & Forever.” They sang 3 songs from it, the best being “Dance Floor” which was sandwiched between 2 of their biggest hits: “September” and “Let’s Groove.” The fireworks started during the later number. I would have liked another song for the finale rather than “In the Stone”… maybe “Getaway”. But that’s OK.
Thanks to the band and Orchestra for another fun evening under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.