July 22, 2015

Let's Groove in Madrid

What images flicker through your mind when I say: Earth, Wind & Fire? Yes, I am talking about the band that changed the sound of black pop in the 1970s and early 1980s. As a teenager my favourite dance hits included "Reasons", "Fantasy", "September", "Let's Groove" and "Boogie Wonderland".

Well, last night, my Madrid BFFs and I got to hear them all again... LIVE! And boy, it was a flashback. At the time my friend and I were big Snoopy fans, were just beginning to date and actually danced to these same songs together all those years ago. I will spare you the details from past decades, let's just say, we had more than one common memory that flowed back to our minds.

Mamita Cubana managed to get us front row tickets and thanks to the free standing open air stage planted in the middle of Madrid's University Botanical Garden, we were at an arm's reach from the performers. Of the original band, only one member was left but the other 12 artists did a great job in rendering the contrasting vocals of falsetto and tenor and various instrumental solos as close to the original version as possible. Admittedly the stage shows weren't as energetic and elaborate but given that the temperature was 38ºC at 10 pm, this was understandable. Or were they just a wee bit over-aged and over-weight?

Nevertheless, the audience was ready to party and dance, no matter how hot it was and after we were told that the band had travelled all the way from LA to see us and that it would be a shame if we just stayed seated in our chairs, we were all on our feet boogieing like old times.

When after 90 minutes the band left the stage, we all gave our best and loudest "Olé, Olé, Olé" in true Spanish style and the artist all came out again to join the chant in improvising on their instruments. I am sure that was a first for Earth, Wind and Fire!

Today I am listening to their songs trying to convey to my children the importance of EWF's music in my life when I was their age. It is a lost cause and so be it. This bands remains linked to many memories in my years growing up in Zurich and last night I was 16 years old at heart again and grooving in Boogie Wonderland...if only for a little moment!

A free standing concert stage just like in the good old days

A tinto de verano is just what we need to set the mood

Let the show begin

Yesssss, bring on the disco music!

Al McKay, (left)
the original member born February 2, 1948, in New Orleans 
and still going strong

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