Written by Dave Clements

I need to start this review on a very unhappy note that has had me bummed all day and into this evening in spite of the fact that I just watched a great show by Earth, Wind and Fire and Lionel Richie.
Musical icon Jimmy Buffett passed away last night and I started my day hearing the very unwelcomed news. I wasn’t a Parrothead but I loved Buffett’s on-stage vibe that he brought us each time I saw him. He died at the age of 76, one year and one day older than me. Jimmy was born Christmas Day in 1946, I was born the day after Christmas 1947. There is no real musical significance to that fact other than it has caused me to reflect on the time we have on earth and how precious each day is and how quickly it can pass by us. And money doesn’t matter. Buffett was a billionaire but it likely didn’t add one minute to his time on earth. All I can add is that Jimmy Buffett is/was a National Treasure and I am hoping that he is recognized posthumously as a special ambassador to America, bringing years of joy, happiness and fun to so many people across our great country.
Jimmy, deepest sympathies to your family and friends and may you rest in peace…you did a great job here on earth…thank you.

Now back to Earth, Wind & Fire. These guys were great! I had never seen them before but that has turned out to being my bad. They were on the stage at Toyota Center to open/special guest the show for Lionel Richie.
They definitely were not an opener but a special guest, I get! These guys are special performers and brought it full force to Houston. They held nothing back for the hour they performed to the eleven thousand plus in attendance this Labor Day Saturday night.
They were all over the stage, they were dancing, they were jumping, they were making their different instruments come together like not many others that do it for a living. They were up and down the runway that led to the middle of the Toyota Cener. There vocals were spot on and the music behind them was so robust and enjoyable to listen to. Song after song was so appealing to this reviewer, I could have listened to them all night. They played songs I knew from back in the day. And they played them such that I felt I had gone back in time in such a nice way. They played fifteen songs in total and for me the highest highlights were After The Love Was Gone, Boogie Wonderland, Let’s Groove and September.
Go see them is my advice and they will be in Vegas soon for several shows.
My only issue with them had to do with the first three songs when I was allowed to photograph them. They never gave me a ‘special shot’ and that was disappointing. I would think the group would want the best possible images out there, floating around cyber space. My images of E, W & F are nothing compared to what Lionel Richie gave me…night and day, go look!

And speaking of Lionel Richie for a moment at the end of E, W & F’s set I thought that perhaps they were going to upstage Lionel this night. Yet it wasn’t long into his show when that thought completely disappeared.
He was strong vocally, he was personable, he seemed very genuine, he didn’t take himself so seriously – in fact he was charmingly self-effacing regarding his aging. I found him mesmerizing both while I was photographing him and while I sat (actually stood) and listened and watched him own the crowd.
His song selections included several Commodores songs including Easy/My Love, Sail On, Fancy Dancer, Sweet Love, Lady (You bring Me Up), Just To Be Close To You, Zoom and Still.

He started with Hello, and of course he sung Truly and Say You, Say Me.
He did We Are the World very late in his set and for the encore did All Night Long (All Night).
One of the funniest moments of the show was when he commented that I get it that a lot of the men here tonight didn’t really want to be ‘here’. (I may not have it totally correct word for word but this was the jest of it) ‘But I feel the tide shifting. I see you’ve figured out I’m on your side. It’s simple guys. I warm ‘em up…. you take ‘em home’.
Before wrapping up my comments let me share that between Earth, Wind & Fire and Lionel Richie’s performances I left feeling a little more up about Buffett’s death that shook me to the core.
Help keep live music alive…until next time.
dwc