Earth, Wind & Fire

To say that my musical tastes are eclectic might be an understatement.  I listen to all kinds of music and I always have.  Well, I don't think I was ever partial to my dad's weekly polka fests on Saturday afternoons, but there may have been one or two that I liked.  I was (and am) a big guitar rock kind of guy.....Clapton, Grateful Dead, Skynyrd, Deep Purple, The Outlaws, Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Who, and so many more. But I also had albums that none of my buddies would have even listened to, like Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, and Merle Haggard to name a few.  Back then, you could hear all kinds of music on FM radio.  It wasn't as segmented as it is today.  My station was WMMR in Philly.  They'd play rock, then folk, then a good pop song, then something a bit country, then R&B, and even a bit of jazz.  And they played various tracks from the same artists, not just the current "hit".  I think that if I ever had my own radio station, that's exactly how I'd format it.

Somewhere in the middle 70's I heard cuts from this new band on MMR that really caught my attention.  No, not one my friends would be listening to or would want to go see.  But I loved what I was hearing.  They had great material and fantastic vocals.  So, on my next album buying binge, I had to have Head To The Sky.  That was when I became a fan of Earth, Wind & Fire.  I still am.

I never got to see them live in my younger days.  But a few years ago, I was visiting my daughter in VA Beach, and they were playing there on their tour with Chicago.  I thought, "how can I miss?"  I'd seen Chicago at least seven times over the years, so I figured it would be a great show with both bands.  What I wasn't prepared for was that EW&F just blew me away with their performance.  Yeah, Chicago was good, but EW&F were simply over the top.  I was there by myself and I was dancing on the lawn like a possessed white guy (probably not a pretty sight, so I wouldn't try to picture it!)  And   so was the rest of the audience.  You couldn't help it.  After I left, I went to WallyWorld to buy some CD's so I could keep that high going.  I did control the old white guy dancing thing though.

This past weekend, I got to relive the magic.  Earth, Wind & Fire played the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.  There are only three of the original members left, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, and Ralph Johnson.  They have also been joined by Philip, Jr.  But if you closed your eyes, you'd never know it wasn't the original band.  From beginning to end, they were fantastic and put on an incredible show.  Philip Bailey's voice was phenomenal as always, even at 62.  The crowd was up and dancing the entire time.  Even a downpour couldn't dampen their spirits.  It was great music for almost two hours.  My original fave, Keep Your Head To The Sky was also included in the setlist....I didn't expect that.

And as always, the guys played to the camera.  Hope you like the shots as much as I loved getting them.