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Posts tagged ‘soul’

Charlie Wilson: R&B Icon

Charlie Wilson in Concert
Friday, August 3, 2018
Hollywood Bowl

With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins, conductor

Special guest: The O’Jays

Songs performed: Ship Ahoy, Time To Get Down, What Am I Waiting For, Livin’ for the Weekend, Forever Mine, Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love), I Love Music, Back Stabbers, Love Train, Used Ta Be My Girl, For the Love of Money (The O-Jays); Party Train, Early In the Morning, Beautiful, Good Times (Everybody), There Goes My Baby, Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me), Humpin’; Charlie, Last Name Wilson; Chills, Yearning for Your Love, I Wanna Be Your Man, You Are, I’m Blessed, Outstanding (Charlie Wilson)

Comments: Charlie Wilson, formerly of the Gap Band, brought his signature voice and flair for showmanship to the Bowl last weekend for a couple of shows. He showed that you can’t keep a good man down. After a string of hits in the 80’s with his band, he ended up losing it all to drugs and being homeless in the 90’s. Now sober for 26 years, he came out ready-to-party and claim his rightful throne as an R&B icon.

The evening started with the Gap Band’s “Party Train.” His band members were dancing and playing in all black outfits with neon colors for accents. Pus he was joined by 4 female backup dancers too. It was a great way to get the evening started. And he had everyone on their feet dancing to the funk classic.

The evening was a mix of hits from the Gap Band, and his R&B hits from the 2000’s. I knew the Gap Band songs, but his solo stuff I was not so familiar with. Of the solo songs, “There Goes My Baby” and “I’m Blessed” were my favorites for the night.

He definitely looked like he was having a great time on stage, which is always good for the audience. He was grateful to be on stage. At one point, he asked the crowd to stand up if this was their first Charlie Wilson concert, and half the crowd stood up. During the middle of the show, there was a few routines that highlighted the lights on his jacket and pants, as well as on those of the band/dancers. It was a cool effect to see the lights moving around while the rest of the lights were down.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to hear “You Dropped the Bomb on Me” — as the lights came on at the end without him having sung it. I still had a great time and danced more at this show than other recent concerts. I was very impressed with his vocals and his performance.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, the O’Jays, opened the show, with an hour-long set. I was reminded how many great songs they had: Love Train, I Love Music, Used Ta Be My Girl, and For the Love of Money among them. They may be up there in age (there are 2 of the originals left) but they gave it their all and put on a good show. They said they were celebrating 59 years as a band.

Thanks to Uncle Charlie and the O’Jays for a great night of music and dancing.

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 Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

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Hollywood Bowl 2013 — Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire in Concert
Friday, September 13, 2013
Hollywood Bowl

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)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.

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