Monday 21 October 2013


Still basking this morning in the fantasy that was Earth Wind & Fire at The Apollo Theatre last night in manchester a band I originally saw in 1975 at Manchesters iconic Belle Vue Theatre.It was great to be back at THe Appollo my old stomping ground for the likes of Maze,Bootsy Collins,Freddie Jackson,Ray Parker Jnr,The Crusaders,Bobby Womack & many many More. The Magic effects have been replaced by superb lighting effects including a superb laser section that highlighted their trademark pyramid.Higly emotional moments scattered all through as they treated us to After The Love Is Gone where Phillip Bailey showed his prowess as one of the greatest falsetto voices of all time with an awesome display of range.Verdine White continued his stage presence persona of a bundle of energy and the driving bass force throughout the show even at 61 years old his constant dancing and huge madcap smile lit up the stage ! We were treated to Shining Star,That's The Way Of The World,Serpentine Fire,Fantasy,Boogie Wonderland (the opener),September,Let's Groove,Got To Get You Into My Life,In The Stone,Brazilian Rhyme,Saturday Nite,Devotion,Reasons,Sing A Song and many more along with Love Is Law ,Got To Be Love & Dancefloor from the new album Now Then and Forever ! The Three Original EWF Members shone out on the night Phillip Bailey, Verdine White & Ralph Johnson a particularly atmospheric moment with PB on the Kalimba (African Thumb Piano) shown in close up on the huge stage monitor...

Yes of course it's a loss not to have Maurice White's iconic face at the front of the stage but the essence and magic of Earth Wind and Fire is still present. The original AWESOME Phoenix Horn section is still well represented as are the new vocalists. B.David Whitworth & Philip Bailey Jnr adding lead vocals and superb harmonies. Myron McCkinley as musical Director and keyboards also shone throughout.Reggie Young - Trombone
Gary Bias - Saxophone (Outstanding a couple of superb solos)Bobby Burns. Jr - Trumpet provided the very active horn section. Morris O'Connor & Greg Moore on Lead & Rhythm guitar respectively also showed their prowess.
It was just a writhing mass of EWF driven energy filled with class performances ,memories ,emotion and sheer passion leaving you breathlessbut with that HAPPY FEELIN' ! Reminding us all how good you had to be back in the day to attain this level. And showing us again why this fabulous entourage of musicians over 42 years have made us Dance,Laugh,Cry and outright Euphoria because of their huge life defining musical talents , song writing abilities and sheer CLASS !
LONG LIVE EARTH WIND & FIRE !!! No it's not the 1975 line up but this group are still worth 100% of your attention !!!!!!!!!!!!! AND they had us all on our feet from the first song to the last a great sight in a concert arena !!!

One sad note on the night even though a huge thank you to Kennedy Street Enterprises for putting on Earth Wind & Fire at the APOLLO !.
But seriously you guys need to look at whoever handles the support act.
With over 3000 in the venue this was a fantastic opportunity to showcase any of Manchester's or the UK's burgeoning Soul Music talent but no....
We were subject to three middle aged , disrespectful , screaming banshees with violins and ukuleles murdering of all things rock classics such as Black Betty and Walk This way as well as the destruction of a few other pop classics. This group were called WOMAN now as anyone who knows me already knows I love female vocals but these ladies needing putting out of their misery and returning to whence they came this was questionable entertainment in any venue but hugely disrespectful and sad as a warm up act for the great Earth Wind & Fire ! We could have had Incognito or SoulPersona or Charlene or Anne Marie Lataille or Elliot Macauley or Victor Haynes or Kadice or Natasha Watts or Coco Brown or Monique Thomas or any other deserving UK Soul Music talent but please think on promoters and don't miss these golden opportunities to showcase UK Soul Music talent ! Over and out ! an old man who is this morning typing and being surrounded by the magical audio of EARTH WIND & FIRE !!

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