Charlie Wilson in Concert
Friday, August 3, 2018
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.