Last weekend we ventured all the way up to Manchester to see Earth, Wind & Fire, and just like the last time we saw them (in 2010) it was an absolute joy.
This time around there were colourful lasers that combined with smoke to form dynamic shapes and a big video wall with live effects. The lasers were used to great effect and were somewhat reminiscent of EWF's spectacular live performances back in the seventies.
My Promise, Love Is Law and Dance Floor, all tracks from the new album Now, Then & Forever, were performed. The latter went down particularly well with an eager-to-dance crowd and was a reminder that even a sophisticated jazz-fusion band like EWF can lay down a serious and catchy as hell dance groove when they feel like. Of course the dance classics such as September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star, Saturday Night and Let's Groove were performed, and as usual with levels of enthusiasm and sincerity one could easily forgive them for not having after 40 years. Not a bit of it, their enjoyment and love of performing those songs is still evident, even if, understandably, the dance routines that accompany them aren't quite as vigorous as they used to be!
EWF are great at creating grooves that get people moving their bodies, but they're simply masterful at creating ballads and midtempo's that tell stories of love and loss, and move people's souls. This is where the truly stirring and quite astonishing falsetto of Philip Bailey, which has somehow lasted all these years, really comes into its own. I don't have the words to describe what it's like to experience him sing Reasons live, a song in which he sings at the very top of his range, I'm not sure anyone does, but what I will say is that you don't listen to him sing, you feel him sing.
Other classics such as That's The Way Of The World, Fantasy and After The Love Has Gone also made the setlist, as did In The Stone, which came as a welcome encore.
There's more videos from the gig on our youtube channel, so check 'em out!