Do you remember the 21st night of September? If you were at the Earth Wind and Fire show this past Saturday you definitely will. Earlier that day Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel named September 21st Earth, Wind, and Fire day in Chicago which was a long overdue honor since the band has a 40+ year history, but nevertheless it is a great honor. This was the 2nd sold out night at the Chicago Theatre. EWF took the stage at 8:15 and opened with "Boogie Wonderland" to get the crowd off their feet and moving right away. The band started then out came the three original members still with the group Philip Bailey (Vocals, Percussion), Ralph Johnson (Percussion, Vocals), and Verdine White (Bass). The easiest way to describe the show would be as a greatest hits night since their set is always full of hits. After numerous lineup changes the EWF sound hasn't changed a bit. The current lineup is 12 members and allows no room for mistakes with their "tight" and "groovy" sound. EWF then went into another big hit "Sing A Song." By this point the floor was a dance floor. EWF kept the crowd going with "Shining Star," and slowed it down on "Sun Goddess," This was the part of the show they played their slower more beautiful songs like "Kalimba Story", which featured Bailey on the Kalimba (thumb piano), "Devotion," "Love Is The Law," "That's the Way of the World," "After The Love Has Gone," and "Reasons." EWF shows that they don't only play their fast paced groovy songs to get the crowd moving but also their slower prettier songs. Two of the big highlights of the show were on "Devotion," and "Reasons," "Devotion" started with Bailey singing solo in a pyramid made of lasers just like in the 80's and then was joined by Johnson, White, Philip Bailey Jr. and B. David Whitworth who both sing and play percussion. On "Reasons" Bailey still hits the high notes and the band slows down the song just like on their live album "Gratitude" which was released in 1975. While introducing the band Johnson called Bailey "The Voice," and said just like a fine red wine he keeps getting better and better with age and called White the "Soul of Earth, Wind, and Fire." Both things are very true, Bailey thanked founding member Maurice White, Verdine's brother, who retired from touring 1994 for health reasons but is still a member of the band. After "Reasons" EWF went right back into their funky and groovy songs with their famous cover of the Beatles "Got To Get You Into My Life," "Fantasy," "September" which included some of the best vocals of the night from drummer John Paris, "Dance Floor," "Let's Groove." EWF came back for a two song encore of "Sign On,"from their newest album "Now Then & Forever" and "In The Stone." All together EWF performed three songs off "Now Then & Forever." If Bailey didn't announce they were new there'd be know way of knowing since they fit right in with their classics. I've seen EWF 4 times and every show just keeps getting better and this was the full production show with all the lights, lasers, and LED screens. The show lasted an 1 hour 45 minutes and was fun every minute of. The band played as White, Bailey, and Johnson walked off. After the show ended the EWF "Megamix (Radio Edit) from the best of Earth Wind and Fire album which is a compilation of "September," "Reasons," "Sing A Song," and "Superstar,"
A few of EWF achievements include 20 Grammy nominations (6 they won as a group, and 2 won by Bailey and Maurice White individually, 12 American Music Award nominations, and have been inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, and Vocal Group Hall Of Fame in addition to selling over 90 million albums worldwide. 7 of their albums were 10 top, and 2 went to number 1 as well as 7 top 10 singles