Yes, it has been 40 years, but anyone who thinks Earth Wind and Fire has lost the fire need only witness Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White – the three original members still touring as a group – high kicking across a stage.
Which is just what they did on Friday as EWF, backed by Atlanta’s own Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, showcased their impressive catalog of hits at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
What could be better than hearing “Shining Star” under the stars? Maybe hearing it with ASO as accompaniment.
The set began with crowd pleaser, “Boogie Wonderland” and ASO’s orchestral maneuvers made the perfect complement to EWF’s funkiness. The full force of ASO’s strings, under the direction of conductor Charles Floyd, could be heard on numbers including “After the Love Has Gone” and “I’ll Write a Song for You.”
Not only did the near sold out crowd hear EWF standards, but the band performed a tribute to the blues.
Just before treating the crowd to more of his still impressive falsetto, Bailey noted EWF’s inter-generational legacy. “A lot of you were conceived on Earth Wind and Fire, that makes us your godfathers,” he said.
Though it would have been appropriate to end the set with “September,” the band took a different route. With the crowd on its feet demanding an encore, EWF launched into “Written in The Stone.”
Still, we can’t deny, it was a September we will always remember.