Photos By: MANN
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By Shumon Hutchinson May 07, 2011
Sitting at the open air Los Angeles Greek Theatre on a mild late spring Saturday evening is a treat in itself. The theatre is nestled in a very quaint area of the Griffith Park, and offers great views from any seat in the house as well as lighting and sound that rivals with the best. Then to get to enjoy the Latin tunes of Sheila E and The E Family, and other featured artists line-up of Macy Gray, Kem and Roberta Flack, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz Wavefest was certainly one of those rare get your cake and eat it too opportunities.
Opening the festival was Sheila E and the “E Family” definitely got the crowd going with their electrifying tunes from their new CD “Now and Forever”, which featured Latin jazz tunes, with Sheila E on percussion and vocals, performing also with her father Pete Escovedo, brothers and cousins. Their performance was a high energy jam session in which they sang, played their percussions to perfections and even invited several audience members to party along with them on stage. Their music was so invigorating, many stood up and danced at their seats at Sheila’s direction, and the very Latin, tropical flavor to their rhythm almost made you feel like you were partying on a tropical island.
But Sheila E., was just getting the party started. Next to take the stage was the ever groovy, sultry and new wave funky Macy Gray. As Macy Gray continues to stay relevant as an independent artist, the Mercedes-Benz Wavefest was the perfect opportunity for her to strut her stuff and remind us all as to how she came to the forefront of pop music to begin with. Not only did Macy Gray perform flawlessly and humbly with her band and high energy back up singers the tunes we have grown to love, she constantly talked to the audience almost like a one on one conversation, joking and talking about love, peace and ending war. Her performance was just what you would come to expect from Macy as she grooved through her hits and entertained as only she can do.
The charismatic and inspirational love tunes of Kem would be the next performance to hit the stage. This R & B crooner loves to wow, arouse and uplift his listeners, and he did not disappoint as he sang some of his most popular tunes. Sharing his life story and playing with a member of the audience by singing and filming himself into her video camera, full of the sex appeal that left other ladies in the crowd cheering, as the fellas laughing as Kem video taped his shoes, were just a couple of the high points in between dazzling the audience under the night sky with his strong melody seductive lyrics. Kem was thoroughly entertaining and left his audience wanting more.
To close out such an romantic night of music the timeless classics of Roberta Flack took her fans down the path of memory lane. With music that has contributed to the art, all she had to do was sit so elegantly at her piano and sing her hits like “Killing Me Softly”, “Feel Like Making Love”, and “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” just to name a few. Roberta Flack sang her classics so effortlessly and on point you couldn’t help but take in the fact that you were in the company of a one of the greatest song writers and singers to ever hit the stage.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz Wavefest was a great opportunity for music lover’s to spend a beautiful night under the stars listening to a variety of great music.