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It's hard to believe it's been a year since EWF came to play a sold out show at the Hard Rock Live. My how time flies; great music however is forever. For Earth, Wind amp; Fire has been a journey of 41 years in the music business. Throughout that time they have continued to wow audiences, stayed on the arts, and remained one of the top selling concerts acts on the road today. EWF once again delivered the goods this evening to another sold out crowd with their "Guiding Lights Tour." 5500 people got their socks knocked off with a 90 minute love fest powerhouse show that included all the old favorites.
The energy in the arena was electrifying and began as soon as the band hit the stage. EWF's lineup this time around is the same as it was a year ago with three of the original members. Singer/front man Philip Bailey, Verdine White (bass and awesome wardrobe guru), Ralph Johnson, Philip Bailey Jr., David Whitworth, plus 12 other musicians not only ruled the stage but ruled the night (founding member Maurice White retired in 1995 - handing the lead vocals role to Bailey). Bailey's unbelievable vocals soared like the elements the band represents and like fine wine seems to get better with age.
Bailey remains one of the best front men in the business; and it's no wonder, the guy's got it down to a fine art. He radiated charisma, incredible musicianship, and a sensuality that came to the forefront especially during the song "Reasons," which melded seamlessly into the classic, "Let's Get It On." The screams and cheers from the audience were loud and exuberant. The ladies in the audience captivated by his soaring falsetto; one could only imagine silk lace drawers hitting the floor throughout the arena.
I have heard in the past it's the baritone that attracts the women's attention. I can tell you first hand (the same response happened when I saw Barry Gibb live) it's the men with the falsetto that get the ladies hearts beating a little faster. Not to fret gentlemen, there is also something here for you. Singing along, dancing, raising your glasses into the air; the men were having a great time all on their own. The couples that came to the show got a bit cozy during the love songs.
It's a good time party atmosphere that leaves no stone unturned. South Florida was ready to dance and let loose. And that's what we did all 90 minutes of the band's set. Usually during every show there is a time when it's okay to head to the snack bar or restroom. Not at a EWF show. Their set moves flawlessly and never gives the audience time to catch its breath. It's one hit after another that moves like a well oiled machine. Verdine White is always a kick to watch. His outlandish costumes and fruit smoothie slot masterful bass licks really make the show a wonder.
His energy kept him moving from one side of the stage to another. The band's syncopated dance moves were flawless and a lot of fun to watch. It was an infectious evening for everyone involved and the band thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the audience's interaction. The Hard Rock Live is the perfect place for EWF to play. The acoustics resonated throughout the arena with clarity and crispness that grabs on to the music and harmonies like a hand fits in a glove.
The audience this evening represented the classic R B; fans that grew up with EWF in the 1970's and a younger generation that discovered musical composition in its finest form is where it's really at. Starting to sound like my parents once did; they just don't make music like this anymore. And that's a real shame. Keyboardist Myron McKinley, guitarist Morris O'Connor, and the brass section added an even fuller sound making the funk funkier, the soul more soulful, and the jazz; you get the idea.
I have never heard a tighter sounding band. Philip Bailey Jr. definitely has is dad's genes when it comes to performing. He's got a great voice in his own right. Easy dance moves and proves to be a great percussionist. Performance stand-out of the evening if I had to narrow it down were "Boogie Wonderland" (which opened the show) ", "Sing A Song," a beautifully tender version of "After The Love Is Gone," the Beatles classic, Got To Get You Into My Life," "Shining Star," and "Let's Groove".
Earth, Wind amp; Fire once again proved as a band they've got staying power and the chops to lay down some of the best R B; music to date. If they're swinging by your town don't miss this show. You'll in for a treat and one hell of a party. They have added more heat to an already scorching 2012 summer.