WORDS AND IMAGES BY BILLY SEAGRAVE
‘To Bring Those Tracks To Life On Stage In Front Of 20.000 People Is Jaw Droppingly Inspiring’
Tonight, promises to be a night of musical DNA, headlined by Pop, Soul and Funk from Nile Rodgers and Chic.
Lytham Festival was into its fifth day of live music on the green. Craig Charles had already began warming up the crowds, on this beautiful sunny warm afternoon, A total contrast from last night’s consistent rain. First to take to the stage. To date Soul II Soul have sold over 10 million albums in over 35 territories worldwide and have product on over 200 compilation CDs while Jazzie has accreditation on over 35 million albums in over 100 territories. They’ve performed in over 20 countries and appeared at some of the most famous venues in the world including Wembley and New York’s Universal Ample Theatre. America embraced Soul II Soul to such a degree, in 1990 they picked up two Grammy’s. Jazzie was given the keys to seven cities in the US, including LA and New York, and the NAACP has honoured him. There’s even a Soul II Soul Day over there. Bringing us back through the years they sounded as fresh and viable as they ever were.
Starting things off is the masterful voice of Nadine Caeser who brought us infectious grooves. Covering one of Prince’s B sides that became a worldwide hit for Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares To You”, sees the band skilfully use the melody to bring in the stylised production Soul II Soul are renowned for. The growing crowd suddenly replaced the background chatter with singing and dancing when Charlotte Kelly came on to sing the Club Classics Vol. 1 mega-hit “Keep on Moving”. The band seamlessly segued into “I Care”, followed by “Dreams Are Dreams”.
At that point, Soul II Soul legend Jazzie B emerges from behind his keyboard /Electronics and asked, “are you ready for some universal love?” He modified the lyrics, delivering a sermon of respect. Finally, we were teased with the unmistakable beats and samples for “Back 2 Life” during an extended opening before Kelly delivered the timeless anthem. Under the glorious summer sun, we were treated to luscious violins and a roaring lead guitar playout ending a set that really set the tone.
TLC took to the stage next, the crowd duly warmed up by DJ Dubz, as the young thoroughly energetic dancers take to the stage the crowd were happily taking in the sunshine and getting in the mood. Unfortunately, a lot of the crowd were not familiar with many of the numbers performed by the band, it wasn’t for the lack of effort as hosts, dancers and DJ were in overdrive in delivering a polished performance. It was not until near the end of the set that the crowd came to life with TLC’s “No Scrubs”, reverberated around the venue, bringing a huge response from the crowd. Then saving the best until last “Waterfalls”, finally gets the mass singalong the performance warranted.
Nile Rodgers is a multiple Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist with more than 200 production credits to his name.
As the co-founder of CHIC, he pioneered a musical language that generated chart-topping hits such as “Le Freak”, “Good Times” and “Everybody Dance” that sparked the advent of hip-hop. Nile transcends all styles of music across every generation with a body of work that’s gained him inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His work with CHIC and his productions for artists such as David Bowie, Diana Ross and Madonna have sold more than 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. His innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Sigala, Disclosure and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music.
I just thought I would give that little background for tonight’s host and believe me this is only a small proportion of the accolades and collaborations he has presided over in his career, literally Funk and Soul royalty.
As the band assemble and the rhythm begins to flow from the stage, Rodgers strolls onto the stage arm aloft greeting the huge crowd, guitar strapped around his neck dressed in his usual white suit and berry, he cuts a proper figure for a 69-year-old, like his music the years have treated him well.
“Chic Cheer” opens the set immediately followed by “Dance Dance Dance” seamlessly drifting into “Everybody Dance”, which was more of a command rather than a request, The party is beginning to flow. Explaining to the crowd that he is a producer as well as a performer, gives more credence to the man himself that he is such a well-grounded person.
We drop into the first of a few medleys for the evening, Dian Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down”, blend into “He’s The Greatest Dancer” and “We Are Family”, Sister Sledge classics that seamlessly drop us into Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”, “Material Girl” and “Modern Love”. Already the hits are stacking up. The crowd are in their element, singing dancing and rolling back the years.
Last nights host Duran Duran get a run out with “Notorious”, There’s even space for Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. Its great working on this volume of material is awesome, but to bring those tracks to life on stage Infront of 20.000 people is jaw droppingly inspiring, all credit to the fabulous ensemble of a band on the stage.
“Let’s Dance”, one of David Bowie’s greatest hits keeps the pace moving forward, going back to Chic and “Le Freak”, then finally “Good Times / Rappers Delight”.
As the multi aged crowd begin to disperse into the night, many will be acknowledging a master class of Pop, Soul, Funk, pure Golden performance, quite simply Rodgers is part of our DNA history.
1/ Chic Cheer
2/ Dance Dance Dance
3/ Everybody Dance
4/ I want your love
5/ I’m coming out / Upside down (Diana Ross)
6/ He’s the greatest dancer / we are family (sister sledge)
7/ Like a Virgin / Material Girl (Madonna)
8/ Modern Love (David Bowie)
9/ Spacer (Sheila B and the Devotions)
10/ Soup for one / Lady (hear me tonight)
11/ Lost in music (sister sledge)
12/ Notorious (Duran Duran)
13/ Thinking of you (sister sledge)
14/ My feet keep dancing
15/ Get Lucky (Daft Punk)
16/ My forbidden lover
17/ Let’s Dance (David Bowie)
18/ Le Freak
19/ Good Times / Rappers Delight.
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