Earth Wind & Fire - Rufus and Chaka Khan

30th Anniversary Concert, September 1, 2001

If you've been following the resurgence of Earth, Wind, and Fire during the last three years, you'll be happy to know that the first leg of their Fall tour with Chaka Khan and Rufus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was a big hit with their fans.

About 10,000 people attended the show in the National Car Rental Center, Saturday night, September 1. After a short opening set by a new folk influenced r&b male vocalist (sorry, didn't get his name), Chaka Khan and the original members of Rufus hit the stage.

Chaka was in good voice. The members of Rufus, along with Chaka, seemed to be enjoying their reunion concert. Only Rufus and Chaka songs were performed, none of her solo hits were sung, and I was somewhat disappointed in not hearing what is a large body of her artistic output.

Compared to other past Chaka & Rufus concerts I've seen in New York City, Philadelphia, and in New Jersey, this show was solid.

The arrangements of hits like Once You Get Started and Do You Love What You feel seemed to stretch out into longer jams than the audience at this new show may have expected. I personally would have liked a little tighter set, but it still was fun.

What can you say about the headliners. OK, I'm biased, but Earth Wind, and Fire normally put on the best show of any r&b, rock, soul (pick your favorite genre) artist ever in my book. During a 1 hour 45 minute set, they mesmerized the crowd.

This show was as good as any of their classic shows (including the ones in the late 70's when they used a magician's illusion to materialize in Star Trek tubes to start the show!

Original members Verdine White, Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, and Maurice White are credited as authors of a message to fans in the show's program brochure (but due to his illness, Maurice did not perform).

The group played inspired versions of all of their hits. I would have liked to have heard Sun Goddess, but they did everything else. Everyone in the group, new members and old, received the spotlight to solo in front of the crowd.

New school performers and some old schoolers too could do well to study how Earth, Wind, and Fire structure and balance their performance. I'm a tough critic, but I'll give their Florida show an A+. After 30 years, they still are the show to beat./

Review written by King for Powerhouse Radio

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