Nile Rodgers and CHIC – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax
By Steve Crabtree, June 2022
Well, the weather in Halifax was teasing us all day. Plenty of sunshine, the odd drop of rain, and a touch of wind. Which way was it going to go for another open air gig at The Piece Hall?
Thankfully, the sun burst out again at about 7.30pm and stayed. In doing so, it made the thousands of people flocking in to town to see Nile Rodgers and CHIC play to the Yorkshire masses happy. And it was a busy Piece Hall too for the man who’s written over $3billion worth of hits.
“The biggest disco Halifax has ever seen”
There’s always an excitement around Halifax when the Live At The Piece Hall season is on. The build up to Nile Rodgers and CHIC had been no different, and to get things started we’d been nicely treated to a couple of great support acts in August Charles from Yorkshire and Rebecca Ferguson. Halifax was in a great mood, and we were ready for some funk, soul and dancing.
Rodgers and CHIC came on stage to massive cheers at around 9pm. It might have been a year late, after Futuresounds had arranged the show for 2021, but straight away the Happy Valley was funking out to the biggest disco Halifax has ever seen. ‘Chic Cheer’ and ‘Dance Dance Dance’ started everyones feet moving. And for the next 2 hours or so, we were all smiling, all dancing, and all singing along to the multitude of hits that Rodgers is responsible for.
We were spoilt with the music choice. ‘Everybody Dance’ was incredible. A standout tune for me was ‘Thinking Of You’, with everything from the guitar intro to the bassline, and the feel-good that sailed out over the crowd on that one was fantastic. With an abundance of funky dance tracks, ‘My Feet Keep Dancing’ may have given us a chilled-out rest. But then the dance-fest went up a further notch.
Those seeing him for the first time might have been surprised that they knew most of, if not all his tunes. Those of us who’ve seen him before were once again loving him doing what he always does. Every tune you get at one of his concerts is a Nile Rodgers creation, whether it be one that he and CHIC released, or one he’d written or also produced for someone else. And even at 69 years of age, he’s still the coolest, slickest man in music.
Coupled with that is the vibe that Nile Rodgers and CHIC create, which is something else. People were getting perched on the musical high they give you, and it takes a while for you to come down from that.
Hit after hit came at us at quite a rapid pace. ‘We Are Family’ was a huge singalong, and seeing everyone moving to David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ was epic. ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk also brought out some of the best dance moves in the crowd. ‘Thinking Of You’ was as beautifully dedicated to the late Bernard Edwards as it was performed.
Sometimes an artist or group peaks with a particular song during a live set, but here we had a group playing at the top of their game all night. You get that with bands who’ve been in the thick of the business for the best part of 45 years.
“Bring him back to Halifax again next year. Please.”
One thing that I have to mention is how well organised The Piece Hall is for its live season. Queuing systems perfect. Staff on the bar, on the gate and directing people to toilets smiley, happy and friendly. However they’ve gone about recruitment this year, they’ve got hold of the right people. 10/10 for staffing.
Maybe, like everyone else, they were also feeding off the atmosphere and the buzz around The Piece Hall? It was electric. And I’m pretty sure that no-one wanted the music to end. The vibe was only helped by the setting, and the way the venue was lit as the sunset, and the darkness dropped in.
Nile Rodgers and CHIC ended their show in Halifax with ‘Good Times’ and were incredible. You can ask anyone who was there, and they’ll also say the same. I’m pretty sure that the gig, will be remembered for a very long time.
Now, the only question is: How can The Piece Hall better this? I suppose they could always bring him back to Halifax again next year. Please.
Images: Steve Crabtree & Ellis Robinson