Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Earth, Wind & Fire packed Newark’s NJPAC for two nights earlier this week. Long time members Philip Bailey’s unmistakable falsetto vocals, Verdine White’s funky bass and Ralph Johnson’s dynamic percussions head the Chicago natives. Joining them is nine of the most talented musicians around, including Philip Bailey Jr. on backing vocals. The show was heavy on percussion and chock-full of bold visuals.
Bailey spoke about their devoted fans, saying that true fans don’t mind them not playing only the hits. He then took out his kalimba and played “Kalimba Story.” While they did dig deep for a few tracks, they definitely did play the hits. The ballads, like “After the Love Has Gone” and “Fantasy” were sandwiched between the dance classics like “Shining Star,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Let’s Groove” and “September.” Bailey’s falsetto vocals in “Fantasy” still sounded as it did when it was originally recorded back in 1975.
EWF weren’t the only R&B legends in the house. Bailey spoke about being backstage in their pre-show circle preparing for the night’s show when he looked up and saw Dionne Warwick. Warwick, looking better than ever, stood for the entire show dancing at her seat.
These guys have to be one of the most sampled artists in music, being sampled by the likes of Kanye West, Big Pun, Ice Cube, DMX and Jay-Z, to name just a few. I can now check Earth, Wind & Fire off my list of must see artists and, if you have the chance; I suggest you do the same.
Article: Michael DiGiovanni