Aftermath: Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Photos by Kim Douglass
Girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Young boys are full of snips, snails, and puppy dog tails. But what are great funk bands made of? Ah, yes, the components of a good funk band are mighty in power and capability. Nothing so small nor juvenile will do. What is needed in this case are scientific elements such as Earth, Wind & Fire.
Playing to a nearly sold-out crowd, these funk legends and jazz-rock greats Chicago brought down the house Friday. A quick dual set with both bands onstage together began the concert in the best possible way. Following this, the bands went their separate ways to allow Earth, Wind & Fire the first chance to play solo. Singing their classic hits including a cover of the Beatles "Got to Get You Into My Life" as well as covering their fellow tourmates. Lead singer Philip Bailey showed his audience that his voice has only gotten better over time, hitting the high notes like they were nothing. However, no one single moment that was better than the rest; it was all good.
After a brief intermission, Chicago took the stage, endearing themselves to the audience even more by opening with "Saturday in the Park." Following suit with EWF, Chicago played the majority of the band's hits, both dance songs and ballads, as the audience sang right along as if reciting their children's names. Both the songs and their performers have stood the test of time - never changing to fit what was "hot" at the moment, just staying true to themselves and their music.
What stuck out throughout the show was that aside from a few lighting tricks and one very interesting drum solo, these bands needed no gimmicks to gain the audience's approval. They simply come out on stage, sing their songs, and go home. No pyrotechnics, no dancers, no tricks. None needed. In the audience, men and women who ordinarily walk around downtown Houston with cold, slightly terrifying stares got to show their fun, carefree sides, singing along to every word from both bands and playing air guitar without shame. Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago allowed them to feel like kids again - much like the musicians they came out to see.
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