By: Cheryl Armour
September 23, 2011 Atlanta GA,
Earth, Wind and Fire is celebrating their 40th Anniver-sary this year with an extensive world tour. They stopped at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre in
Originally formed in 1971, the group has released 23 albums including eight double-platinum, top-10 pop albums. The band has received 20 Grammy nominations with six wins, as well as 12 American Music Award nominations with four wins. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003. They’ve sold over 90 million albums worldwide.
The group played a number of their greatest hits includ-ing “Sing a Song,” “After the Love Has Gone,” “Let’s Groove” and “Reasons.” You could hear the crowd react when they recognized each familiar tune as the first notes were played. People screamed, cheered and waved their arms when they heard their favorites. Many people were on their feet dancing and singing along. During a break between songs, they went through the standard introduction of band members. As the three remaining original band members, Ralph Johnson, Verdine White and Philip Bailey were introduced the crowd went crazy with cheers, applause and a standing ovation.
Known for rambunctious live shows as much as their pop hits, the songs and music of Earth, Wind & Fire have roots in the 70's funk era. However as time and music genres passed, the band continued and their songs took on a timeless quality. Even though they’ve been playing songs like “Shining Star” and “Mighty Mighty” for decades, they clearly still enjoy the reaction these songs get from the crowd. The show itself was a visual spectacle. The audience was focused on the stage as vibrant lighting moving in a circular pattern kept all eyes focused front and center.
Throughout the evening the band delivered all the standards one would expect from an Earth, Wind & Fire show: the funk, R&B, jazz fusion, Philip Bailey’s falsetto and Verdine White’s enthusiastic bass playing. They even threw in an unexpected blues guitar solo piece which was incredible. The core of the band might have been playing together for 40 years, but that clearly hasn’t changed their will and love for playing and performing.
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