Skip to content

Earth, Wind and Fire and Chicago, Monday, April 18th, 2016, Reviewed


Before we even get into why a mash up band with two drummers and a conga player, backing one of the greatest funk bands of all time, and also Chicago,  sounded as though they couldn’t find a groove if it boogielanded on their face, let’s think about what is wrong with Chicago and Earth Wind And Fire in 2016. The answer is, for Chicago, if your one founding father is Robert Lamm you might as well start from scratch. And for Earth, Wind And Fire, Phillip Bailey needs a Maurice White, a world class tenor, to seriously signify.

I have nothing against  bands still touring  even when most of the original band are dead or quit or both, a couple of years ago I saw the Drifters kill it with exactly one original member. And while the Temptations-Four Tops show last year was far from perfect, they came out in one piece. But Earth, Wind and Fire didn’t, and the reason is they re a disco not a pop band. They wheel not on melodies you remember but on rhythms you’ve heard sampled for decades, if the sound is off, if the rhythm section can’t do it, nobody can save them.  And nobody does.

Now, if you add on top of that the worst sound engineering possible and you have a recipe for disaster. Last week I saw David Gilmour from the very same seats and he was pretty darn loud as well from time to time, and the sound was immaculate, so I know it can be done. From the moment the EWF and Chicago mash up hit the stage for the first three songs, it sounded like crap, The vocals seriously under mic’d and the horns, all eight of them, with so much treble it was painful, and all the other instruments like slop in your ear, a mess of a sound. From the first song, Chicago’s terrific “Beginnings’, something was wrong and a terrific filled to overflowing stage with top notch musicians, couldn’t save it from sounding just nasty.

Earth Wind And Fire took the stage alone, followed by the highlight of the evening, the  intermission, which I took as an excuse to leave, Chicago ended the evening, with a return of both bands for the encore.

It is difficult to express how shitty EFW were, Maurice White must have been cringing  at a set where the highlight was film of Maurice singing “Jupiter”. The voices were simply not loud enough and Phillip couldn’t carry the ensemble by himself and didn’t come close. I almost left during a terrible “Africano/Power” and I almost left during “Boogie Wonderland”, two hugely danceable disco hits which failed to find the beat. Instead, I stood around with a stupid look on my face till being assaulted  by a ghastly “That’s The Way Of The World”.

Finally, the sound sorted itself out in time for  a vocal virtuoso  turn by Bailey on “After The Love Has Gone”,  and a terrific “Reasons” with a terrific young tenor whose name escapes me. A singalong to their Beatles track was matched by  dancealongs to “Fantasy” and “Let’s Groove”.  and that was their set, and really it wasn’t remotely good enough. This was one of the greatest bands of all time, and they just sucked.

I left. Chicago were so bad at the top of the evening, I had no intention of watching em a second longer than I had to. I will say one thing on the evenings behalf: EWF went on first so I wasn’t forced to sit through those MOR tossers.

Grade: D+

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at


By admin | August 10, 2022 |

On Soho Records

Eileen Shapiro: “Portfolio Of A Rockstar Journalist” With Philip Bailey Bringing Earth, Wind, And Fire

By Eileen Shapiro | August 10, 2022 |

Jazz has always been my first love as a kid

Brief Encounters: New Albums 8-5-22 – 8-11-22 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | August 10, 2022 |

some big country and Americana names

Echo Park Rising Is Back As Echo Farce Rising

By Alyson Camus | August 9, 2022 |

free for all has always been the idea behind EPR

Press Releases For August: Here Are The Artists

By Alyson Camus | August 9, 2022 |

The power-pop sensibilities of the Black Lips

US Top Ten Singles Tracking 7-29-22 – 8-4-22

By Iman Lababedi | August 9, 2022 |

Bey with a double header


By admin | August 9, 2022 |

On Soho Records

Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1976 (Volume 8, Number 5)

By Steve Crawford | August 9, 2022 |

the man who made the world a safe place for Richard Simmons.

In Memory: Olivia Newton John’s “Summer Night” At The Flamingo, Tuesday, October 18th, 2016, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | August 8, 2022 |

our eternal Sandy


By admin | August 8, 2022 |

On Soho Records

Scroll To Top