Earth, Wind, and Fire
At Bowen Field House
Sunday is a day of rest. That wasn't the case, at least at Bowen Field House, as Eastern Michigan University presented Earth Wind and Fire and Weather Report on March 3.
Weather Report started the boogie-night going, after a forty-five minute setup delay which seems to plague all groups performing at Eastern, with the song "Orange Lady". Wayne Shorter, the reed player and newest member of the group, inspired the crowd with his soulful-jazz presentation. This inspiration was quickly absorbed by the band and then passed on to the audience. Josef Zawinul. the keyboard player and the nucleus of the group, dominated most of the melodic passages by exemplifying his total musical knowledge of the electric keyboard.
The summit of Weather Reports' tight performance was their final presentation "Boogie Woogie Waltz", which was readily and enthusiastically recognized by all. Throughout this twenty-minute extended version each of the musicians presented their own solo-soulful rendition of the song, much to the approval of the dancing brothers and sisters. The only disappointment came with the end of Weather Reports' performance. The crowd called out for more, but that was something that wasn't meant to be.
Maurice White, percussion-vocalist was the first member of Earth Wind and Fire to appear on stage clad in a hooded silver/metalic monk's robe, calling upon some divine spirit for power. Within seconds after his message, the stage exploded into a mass array of energy and music. The group is very earthy and danceable working out by themselves but with the crowd. Their music is not something to sit and look at. It depends on the active participation of the audience. And the audience did particípate. People danced, clapped and whistled along with the music, doing whatever the spirit moved them to do. The highlight of the show was a tune named Manolete, which featured a spot-light solo, performed by Verdine White on a electric string bass. Half way through his performance Verdine was suspended ten feet in the air by a wire harness while the stage below him was undergoing a bombardment of exploding magnesium flashes. Phil Bailey brought forth his dynamic vocal abilities on the song, Head to the Sky. and showed his percussion skill doing a duet with Maurice White. By now, the bodies were moving and hands were clapping to the jazz-rock synthesis. Their last song, Mighty Mighty, got the crowd a'shakin until the last chord was struck and even then some.