Kool live
Kool-and-the-Gang-3D-LOGOLast weekend I was blessed to see Kool & the Gang perform live at the Hollywood Bowl. For nearly half a century, Kool & the Gang has flawlessly blended R&B, Pop, Jazz and Funk into huge multi-format, generational, and international hits like “Jungle Boogie”, “Hollywood Swinging”, “Ladies’ Night”, “Too Hot”, “Cherish”, “Celebration” and others.

Seeing Kool & the Gang live took me back to my youth at a time when my personal music preferences were just taking shape. I remember the Wild and Peaceful album. It was the bomb in 1973 and the group sounds just as good now as they did back in the day. Today’s iteration of the band features original members Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and Dennis Thomas– surrounded by a group of talented musicians, singers and dancers.

Kool & the Gang is a world class band. Their performance is outstanding and they sound amazing. Their horn section is legendary. Their live set featured many of their biggest hits, with one exception, “Summer Madness”. Kool told me after the show that they simply ran out of time and had to cut the song. One of many of the show’s highlights was their 2016 radio hit “Sexy” which the 17,000 plus, sold out Hollywood Bowl crowd ate up. Of course the show hit its peak with the group’s monster international hit, “Celebration”.

70’s and 80’s music fans and those of us who were raised on bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power owe it to themselves to see Kool & the Gang perform live. You’ll be transformed to a time when great songs required true musicianship and showmanship to rock the crowd. After almost 5 decades, Kool & the Gang is still Kool!

While I’m feeling all gooey, let me tell you about the concert’s opening act… Morris Day & The Time rocked the house with their hits “Get It Up”, “Cool”, “The Walk”, “The Bird”, “Jungle Love” and others. Prince’s protégé party band did the damn thing, complete with a mini tribute to the purple one. Ain’t nobody bad as OG mack-daddy, Morris Day— yes, he’s still cool and the band is tight; but don’t confuse these players with The Time, also known as The Original 7. Morris fronts a touring band is comprised of original members Jelly Bean Johnson and Monte Moir, with support from some other dudes. No Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson or Jerome Benton in this configuration. Never the less, these boys from Minneapolis were on fire, they had the whole house on their feet doing the bird! After 36 years in the game, The Time is still the ultimate party band!

All in all a great night of live music! Much love to Eddie Sims and Belinda Wilson for an exceptional “date night” experience. Special thanks to my friend Robert “Kool” Bell and his manager Adel Bayyan for the wonderful hospitality.

Eddie Sims. Kool, Kevin Fleming

Eddie Sims, Robert “Kool” Bell, Kevin Fleming

 

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