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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm not talking about the splurge for gifts for other people. I'm talking about the self-splurging. I picked up the Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire: Live at the Greek Theatre DVD at Target. Oh, come on--the biggest surprise is that I waited this long. The best parts were when they played together on each others' songs. Having a six-piece horn section filling all the parts; the stuff blew my mind, I had to admit.

Jesus, both bands playing the full version of "In the Stone"! I don't care what kind of music you like or don't like. If the words and the music of that song don't move you, then you're a soulless zombie and I'd be doing you a favor if I took you out George Romero-style.

Anyway, this was supposedly the last show on the tour; my man Bill Champlin looked tired. Not too tired to do the lead for "After the Love is Gone." I harp on this all the time, the fact that a Bay Area white dude co-wrote one of the best known R&B songs of all time! He chipped in on the vocals for "Sing a Song" and "September," too (for the show, that is).

As much as I worship Robert Lamm, and as good a job as he did--well, he just shouldn't sing on "Shining Star." Jason Scheff, on the other hand, could keep up with anyone else. He even managed a Maurice White "yow" on "September." The smartest thing he did, though, was stay out of Verdine White's way.

Their separate sets were awesome, of course. I can't quite remember if I've ever heard Chicago do "Alive Again" live; I may have in high school. But, I didn't have a recording of it before now, which was cool. One thing I haven't done is seen EWF live and in person. I've seen lots of live footage, though, and they always put on a good show. It's not just the musicianship with them; it's the showmanship. Too many acts nowadays sacrifice the former for the latter (*cough*got'damnlipsynchers*cough*), but not EWF. I hope I can still move like they do when I get to be their age. I think The Wife was mesmerized by Verdine White, though. Every member of EWF gets into a show, but he's the one who looks like he's got the Holy Ghost in him.

The Wife got a chuckle out of me when I was yelling watching EWF all slide to the right on stage to the line "Moooove yourself and glide like a 747" in the song "Let's Groove." She asked me, "You sure you're just 32?" What can I say? I like old school.

I miss Sheldon Reynolds, though. It took two musicians to replace him, one singer and a guitar player, a Russian cat (I thought he looked Hispanic) named Vadim Zilberstein. I tell you, he covered his parts beautifully. It begs the question, "Where does a Russian learn to play like that?"

I mentioned Jason Scheff staying out of Verdine White's way, and it was true. They had their own separate spaces, and they stayed there; that's why both of them looked good. Now, all the "cutting contests" they had were good-natured. But, that didn't mean some people weren't just outclassed.

EWF's Gary Bias slaughtered Walt Parazaider in Chicago's own "Free." I'm sorry, this'll sound as bad as some of my martial arts posts, but it's the truth--I have yet to hear a white dude outplay a black dude on a sax. I've heard a few come close, but in a cutting contest? Hell, no; all things being equal, I've just never heard it.

That being said, even though Keith Howland had the home field advantage playing "25 or 6 to 4," he totally pwned EWF's Vadim Zilberstein and Gregory Moore. You could see it on Howland's face during the second round of solos.

Shoot, it's late, and I gotta work tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have more to say once I've watched it twice more, ripped the audio, and listened to the concert about twenty more times.
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