Nile Rodgers and Chic are no strangers to Ireland. Most recently, at Electric Picnic 2014, they bowled over thousands with their memorable funk-filled, disco set and on Thursday 9th of July they return to our green isle to play in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens.
Chic arrive on stage, all dressed in white, and commence the evening’s festivities with Everybody Dance. From the word go, Rodgers is a charismatic and capable frontman with guitar riffs to boot. The looming grey clouds and threatening raindrops hold off as the bass-driven I Want Your Love goes down a storm in the magical surroundings of the inner city gardens. The fact that the band can open their set with several of their best known global hits proves there’s still a massive back catalogue of foot-stomping tunes to come. This is one disco soul train that’s not running out of steam any time soon.
A medley of songs that Nile Rodgers has written for other musicians is a highlight of the evening. I’m Coming Out (originally performed Diana Ross) features a top notch sax solo from Bill Holloman, while We Are Family, Upside Down and Like a Virgin showcase the vocal range and smooth as honey tones of singers Kimberly Davis and Folami.
Performances of Soup For One and Good Times present Mr Jerry Barnes as one of the world’s finest R&B and funk bassists and let’s not forget Bowie’s Let’s Dance in which drummer Ralph Rolle takes lead vocals. Frankly, the band’s enthusiasm and love of their craft is infectious, it’s rare to see this level of elation in the crowd. Nile Rodgers embraces the many acts who have sampled his work; Soup For One features Modjo’s Lady (Hear Me Tonight) vocal line and in the middle of Good Times, we’re treated to a verse of The Sugar Hill Gang’s seminal Rapper’s Delight.
These are feel-good tunes at their finest and if there was ever any doubt, the band’s new single I’ll Be There (their first in the Billboard charts in 22 years) confirms Chic are showing no signs of slowing down. By the time Le Freak rolls around, the sun has set, the stage lights have kicked in and there’s one gigantic party amidst the trees in this beautiful city centre venue. By this stage Rodgers has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands: the band and audience chant“Le Freak. C’est Chic?” as one under his stewardship.
Chic have held on to their crown and reigning title as the masters of funk. They are one of the most fun, talented and experienced bands on the touring circuit. The sold out performance was a marvelous mid-week excursion; a Chic gig is one not to be missed. After all, how many bands have been getting the masses to freak out on cue since 1978?