It was the start of what was to be a fantastic evening at Ravinia Festival with none other than Earth, Wind & Fire! This is my second time seeing them and I have to tell you, it was definitely worth it! The show wasn’t sold out but it was very close. As the stage was set with lots of video screens, I took my seat.
The band came out and went right into playing some of the hits including “Boogie Wonderland,” and “Sing A Song,” and even played a brand new song off their new album Now and Forever called “My Promise,” which evokes the early sounds of EW&F.
The concert was not just a celebration of their music, the new album and the fans, but it was treated like a big party. Everyone was dancing in their seats and in the aisles. I even caught myself dancing in the aisle as well! EW&F have that sort of sound, where it’ll sound good years later when they play their music. The band was very tight and at the top of their game.
The band included Maurice White (Vocals, Kalimba, Drums, Percussion), Verdine White (Bass), Philip Bailey (Vocals, Conga, Percussion, Kalimba), Ralph Johnson (Drums, Percussion, Vocals), B. David Whitworth (Percussion, Vocals), Greg “G-Mo” Moore (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals), Myron McKinley (Keyboards), Morris O’Connor (Lead Guitar), Kim Johnson (Vocals), Philip Bailey, Jr.- (Vocals), John Paris (Drums), Reggie Young (Trombone), Gary Bias (Saxophone) and Bobby Burns. Jr (Trumpet). An awfully big band, isn’t it? The 3 original members are Maurice White, his brother Verdine White and Philip Bailey.
It was truly amazing seeing all these guys onstage. They were having a lot of fun, interacting with the audience and doing solos galore! Including a great sax solo from Gary Bias. I’ve also got to tell you, Philip Bailey definitely has one of the best voices in music. The notes he was hitting in some songs were ridiculous!
Other songs played that night included “Shining Star,” “After the Love Has Gone,” “Reasons,” “Devotion,” “That’s the Way of the World,” “Serpentine Fire,” “Fantasy,” “September,” “Let’s Groove” and encored with “In the Stone.”
The coolest part of the night was running into film actor Craig Robinson, who was not too far away. You may have seen him in such movies as Hot Tub Time Machine and This is the End. After he was nice enough to take pictures with the crowd, he ended up on stage playing tambourine with the band!
Overall, Earth Wind & Fire knew how to keep the party going. Non-stop energy, lots of talent and a whole lot of fun. I highly recommend everyone out there to go see an Earth, Wind & Fire show because you will not only have a great time, but you’ll want to come back and see them again. I’m glad I came back and saw them again this year, having seen them last year. The only difference this year is they stepped it up a notch.
Reviewed by Kevin Pollack