Six-time Grammy winner Earth Wind and Fire (aka EWF) took over Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s outdoor amphitheater Saturday, transforming it into one big funkalicious delight of disco, R&B, soul, and a whole lotta lights!
As original members Philip Bailey, Verdine White, and Ralph Johnson, made their way on stage it was obvious the standing room only crowd was in for a treat, as lights started gearing up for an evening of dazzling displays, blazing colors, and an overpowering sense of deja vu.
Joining them onstage was an array of talent, as some members were jumping from one instrument to another. They were Myron McKinley (keyboards), Philip Bailey Jr. (background vocals), B. David Whitworth (vocals, percussion), Greg Moore (guitar, vocals), Morris O’Conner (guitar), John Paris (drums, vocals), Gary Bias (saxophone), Bobby Burns Jr. (trumpet), and Reggie Young (trombone).
Kicking off the show with “Boogie Wonderland,” EWF had 4,500 plus fans on their feet from the first beat to the last, as the crowd waved their hands in the air and grooved with the music.
As EWF danced their way through “Sing A Song” and “Shining Star,” the crowd remained on their feet, singing and dancing.
Towards the middle of the show, as EWF played a handful of love songs like “Love’s Holiday,” “Can’t Hide Love,” and “After the Love,” some audience members took a breather and sat down, while the majority of the crowd remained standing. Some made their way to the nearest aisle to slow dance, only to find the aisle already jammed with people swaying to the music.
As night began to take hold, the stage became a steady stream of eye-candy, as psychedelic patterns were displayed on three different backdrops, along with flashing lights and neon painted instruments.
EWF finished strong with “Let’s Groove,” “Mighty Mighty,” and “In the Stone.” As they finished their last song, fans reluctantly made their way to the exits. Some fans kept looking back at the stage hoping EWF would pop back up and give up one last song.
This was an awesome show, with great music, talent and lights!
Randy’s Rant (continued from last review): Now this is how an aging band puts on a performance. All their songs were hits from their heyday. While they have a few newer songs out, they stuck to the originals that made them popular back in the day, and they didn’t bother trying to introduce newer material. Every time I walked by the merchant booth, there was a line of people.
Next Friday Power Balance Pavilion and 107.9 The End brings you EndFest with Demi Lovato, Adam Lambert, and more. On Saturday, again at Power Balance, watch your favorite American Idol from last season’s show as they bring you some new and not-so-new material.
Don’t forget to check out the remaining shows out at Thunder Valley Casino Resorts Summer Concert Series, as they bring you the likes of Creed, Jeff Dunham, ZZ Top and more!
Parker, best known for his work with James Brown in the 60’s, as well as with George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic in the 70’s, has since come into his own and has been touring under his own name since the 90’s.
Prior to Parker slapping down some funk, Fresno native Jeanette Harris took the audience on a magical ride of silky smooth jazz, with a bit of attitude. Starting off with her single “You Can Dance,” from her ingeniously titled album Saxified, Harris sounded more like a headliner than an opener.
Not disappointing, Harris continued the journey with a little bit of jazz and a dash of funk with “Down Wit’ It.” As she weaved her way through “All I Do” and “Take Me There,” I was beginning to wonder if Parker should have had someone else open for him. The band was flawless, including her brother Michael who was on the drums, Robin Bramlett (bass) and Aaron Thompson (keyboards).
Prior to Parker making it onto the stage, his manager introduced each of the members of the band while they played “Funky Fiesta!” Members included Will Boulware (keyboards), Rodney “Skeet” Curtis (bass), Bruno Speight (guitar), and Marcus Parker (drums).
Once Parker hit the stage it was obvious why he was headlining. This guy was bursting at the seams with funk, as his whole body was shaking to the beat, or maybe he just had to go. You know it happens to the best of us. (Ok already! It was a joke ““ back-off.)
Parker kicked the set off with a very funkalicious version of “Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag,” providing the band a chance to show off their seamless and funky tones.
As Parker transitioned from one song to the next, the band kept up their funky beat. Most noteable was bass player Speight pounding out one bass note after another, adding to the musical tension between songs.
At one point Parker explained how a lot of people refer to his band as a jazz band. He led the audience through a brief jazz session with keyboardist Boulware as Parker played sax (It would have been a great opportunity to bring out Harris). Once he was satisfied everyone understood what jazz sounded like, he kicked it into funk mode with “Make it Funky,” complete with horns ““ gotta love them horns!
It was disappointing to see such a sparse crowd at Pano Hall while two very talented musicians kicked some serious butt. However, the crowd made up for it in energy and enthusiasm as they clapped and hooted throughout the evening.
Singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Harry Wayne “K.C.” Casey brought disco back, for at least one night, as KC and the Sunshine Band took over Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Sunday night. Creating a theatrical display of dance moves that he created back in the 70’s along with four stunning young ladies, KC had the audience putting on their boogie shoes – all under one huge disco ball ““ did I mention the stunning young ladies?
But first, starting off the evening was the venerable Con Funk Shun, an R&B group made up of five frontmen and four band members. The band got their start out of Vallejo, Calif. back in the 70’s, churning out hits through the 80’s. They are responsible for a number of hits including “Chase Me,” “Got To Be Enough” and “Electric Lady.”
The frontmen, comprised of Michael Cooper, Karl Fuller, Felton Pilate, Ron Mouton and Danny “Sweet Man” Thomas, came out
dressed in blue blazers and white pants. Immediately they jumped into a well-choreographed routine that had some audience members cheering. They looked classy performing in lockstep while holding their instruments.
That might not have come out right, but you get the idea.
It was obvious many of the audience members had not heard of Con Funk Shun, but they quickly became fans after the first couple of songs. With their six-part vocal harmonies, horns and more, they blasted out a whole lot of funk, some dance party grooves and a dash of romantic ballads, all to a very receptive audience.
Their set appeared to run long when the announcer jumped in.
“Let’s give it up one more time for Con Funk Shun.”
The band ignored the announcer and jumped into another song and played one more after that! It was obvious they were up there having a good time and didn’t want it to stop.
During intermission I had a chance to talk to three individuals who I will affectionately refer to as the three stooges. Sporting afros, fake moustaches, headbands and other accoutrements, these guys had a following of their own.
They would only give me their stage names of Stefan, Jethro and Samson. I asked Samson what gives with the outfits.
“We’re f**king fans, baby. It’s disco and that’s why we go man.”
Women were having their picture taken with them almost the entire concert. They were very entertaining. Now I know what I’m wearing to my next concert.
An instrumental introduction began and the crowd started cheering as, one at a time, each band member slowly took the stage, walked to the front, stopped for a beat or two, and then took their place on stage. This made for a very dramatic entrance. You could feel the tension build in the crowd as they anxiously waited for KC to make his way on stage.
Will he enter on the right, or the left?
People were looking back and forth trying to figure out where he would pop out.
Prior to KC arriving, the Sunshine Girls grooved to the beginning of “Shake Your Booty.” KC finally emerged (from the right) and went straight to the keyboard and started pounding away and doing what he does best ““ entertain.
A couple of verses into his first song, KC blasted from the keyboard, dancing with the ladies from one side of the stage to the other. As he started into his second song, “Boogie Shoes,” he sounded somewhat out of breath and was breaking out in quite a sweat.
At the end of his second song, KC acknowledge his weight gain and how much older he was. The catch phrase for the night was “What the hell happened?” in reference to how much time had elapsed since he started over 39 years ago.
He also tried to educate all the younger people in the audience as to who he was.
“For you young people, you’re probably wondering who I am. I was your mother’s *NSYNC.”
Going on, he warned them that this is what Justin Timberlake will look like in thirty years.
“I should change the name to KFC and The Sunshine Band,” said KC, referring to his weight.
He said he wanted to play a few slow songs next, but promised that the remainder of the show would remain upbeat. He went on to play a number of slow songs including, “Yes, I’m Ready,” “Let’s Just Kiss & Say Goodbye” and “Please Don’t Go,” before picking up the tempo with “I’m Your Boogie Man.”
At 60 years old, KC has been in the entertainment industry a long time and knows how to put on a great show. While his vocals are nowhere near what they used to be, he makes up for it by sheer energy, musicianship and by surrounding himself with some of the best talent in the industry ““ the lights aren’t bad either. Oh did I mention the stunning young ladies?
|KC and The Sunshine Band Set-list:Shake Your Booty
Yes, I’m Ready
Let’s Just Kiss & Say Goodbye
Please Don’t Go
I Hear a Symphony
I’m Your Boogie Man
Keep it Comin’ Love
Same Old Song
Give it Up
Medley of Hits
Give it To Me
That’s the Way I Like it
Get Down Tonight