Kool and The Gang opened the show and performed a 65 minute set. They quickly got the crowd out of their seats with hits "Fresh", "Tonight", "Emergency", "Mislead" and "Too Hot". The 14 piece band included a full horn session, guitars, drums, keys, lead and background singers. The band which formed in the 60s has been hitting the charts since the 70s and still consisted of original members Robert "Kool" Bell on bass, Ronald Bell on saxophone, George Brown on drums and keys, and Dennis Thomas on trumpet and vocals. Also performing were long time members Amir Bayyan, Larry Gittens, Clifford Adams, Curtis Williams, Michael Ray and Louis Taylor. Shawn McQuiller and Lavell Evans handled the lead vocals for the evening.
They continued on with a look at the 70s songs and showed their hard funk material while performing songs "Funky Stuff, "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging". Thomas who joined in on lead vocals told the crowd that they were always a band who could play "all genres of music".
They continued with "Cherish", "Ladies Night", "Get Down On It". They closed out their show with their biggest hit "Celebration".
For a group celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, they know how to entertain the audiences of three generations.
Gladys Knight proved why she is at legendary status in her 75 minute set. The seven-time GRAMMY Award winner has earned number one hits in Pop, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and has also had a career in film, television. Knight showed why she is still in the business after all of these decades and her voice still incredible.
Knight kicked off her set opening the show sitting at the piano and performing "Hard To Say I'm Sorry". She told the crowd "this is something you never seen me do". She stated that she wanted to take piano lessons as a child but with there being four kids, her mom could not afford it so her sister Brenda got the piano lessons and she got to sing. She said it was on her "bucket list' as she played the piano during the show. She then went on to perform "You Should Be Dancing" by The Bee Gees. Back up dancers come on stage to dance and it is Sasha Farber, Henry Byalikov and Artem Chigvintsev from "Dancing With The Stars". Then comes Tristan MacManus who was Knight's dancing partner when she competed on the hit television show to lead her into a dance routine. She joked afterwards saying "it was on my bucket list".
Knight has recently released new material and performed a few songs from her 2013 "Another Journey" album which included "I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U" and "I Hope You Dance".
Knight who at 70 years old, never looked and sounded better. Dressed in a black pants and white shirt,she was backed by a six-piece band and 10 background singers. She showed her vocal power as she went into songs "Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me," "On & On" and "Make Yours A Happy Home" both from the "Claudine" soundtrack. Knight showed why she is still in the business after all of these decades. Her voice and stage presence is still incredible.
She continued on with songs "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye), and "If I Was Your Woman" and "Love Overboard". Knight told stories in between each song about life and loving her fans who have been with her through ups and down and thanking everyone for always supporting her and attending her shows thoughout the years.
Knight went into with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," and "Midnight Train To Georgia" which earned her a standing ovation from the crowd on 17,000, which made her very emotional by their response. She then talked about how much she loved Marvin Gaye and so many other singers that she looked up and were influenced by over the years. She said she remembered the first time she heard the voice of Teddy Pendergrass then went into a verse of "If You Don't Know Me Right Now" By Harold Melvin and The Blues Notes which featured Pendergrass on lead vocals, followed by "Love Don't Love Nobody" by The Spinners and "End Of The Road' by Boyz II Men.
A highlight and funny moment came when towards the end of her set, a guy comes out on stage to join her. It is her older brother Merald "Bubba" Knight who was a part of her long time band The Pips. He had the crowd laughing as he started a comedy routine of telling her how proud he was on her all these years. Then he asked for his own mike, took hers and thanks all his fans for coming, pretended to get Gladys off the stage for him to sing a song. He performed "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green that had the crowd laughing and cheering along as Gladys sang background vocals. He then went into "Happy" by Pharrell Williams with Gladys joining him to close out the show. The two of them on stage together again was a great way to end the show.
This concert was one amazing evening with talent by legends who know how to put on a show. The only bad part was that it all ended too soon.
Gladys Knight and Kool and The Gang will perform once again on Saturday, August 9th at The Hollywood Bowl.
For tickets for the show: http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/tickets/gladys-knight-kool-amp-gang/2014-08-09
For more information on Gladys Knight, please visit: wwww.gladysknight.com
For more information on Kool and The Gang, please visit: www.http://koolandthegang.com
For a list of shows coming to The Hollywood Bowl:http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/