Nile Rodgers and CHIC – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre
By @Steve Crabtree, June 2018
It had been a beautiful, sunny Sunday in Scarborough. The high temperatures and the fresh sea air had already made it a perfect day in the town, could anything make it even better?
Quick answer: Yes. Nile Rodgers and CHIC were in town.
So, as the warm evening drew in, and everyone descended on the Open Air Theatre, 80s DJ Pat Sharp was doing a fantastic job of keeping the revellers’ spirits high. The mullet may have gone, but the party feeling he throws out has never changed. And he set us up perfectly for the evening we were all excited for.
“The coolest guy in Yorkshire”
It was 8:45pm as the coolest guy in Yorkshire that night strutted on to the stage. White hat, white jacket and pale orange trousers. Nile Rodgers arrived to a crescendo of cheers, before he tuned his guitar, and kicked off the evening with ‘Everybody Dance’.
Was it a song or was it an instruction? Because that’s what the entire, full to the brim OAT immediately did. And for the rest of the show we were all on our feet – barely a bum touching a seat.
A disco was opening up in front of us. It’s said that Rodgers is responsible for over $3billion worth of music. But the way he and CHIC were spraying us with hits and his unmistakable brand of funk was priceless.
‘Upside Down’, ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ and ‘My Forbidden Lover’ had 8,000 of us moving our feet and and singing along. The 65-year-old Nile Rodgers leading the moves.
And not even a mid-set power outage could stop him. Or us. We had a good five or six minutes before Rodgers guitar came back on. But were we bothered? We just broke in to song. The atmosphere was so good, that nothing was going to spoil it for us. We sang ‘We Are Family’ back to Rodgers and his band, before he thanked us for holding the fort and carrying on.
Nile Rodgers and CHIC were once described as “the best covers band ever” when performing their own songs! The journo in question had no idea that Rodgers had written hits for so many others. And we were treated to a medley of those hits. Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’, Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’, and ‘I’m Coming Out’ by Diana Ross went down well. Drummer Ralph Rolle whipped the audience up in to a bit of a frenzy, before launching in to stunning version of David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’.
Nile Rodgers and CHIC are so good. Rodgers’ hooks are incredible. Lead singers Kimberly Davis and Folami owned big hitters ‘I Want Your Love’ and ‘Le Freak’, and Davis delivered a powerful version of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ after Rodgers explained how that song came about as he fought and beat off cancer.
Nobody in Scarborough could stop dancing, and although my friend disagreed, my own anthem of the night was ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’.
Scarborough really are getting some fantastic shows this summer at their Open Air Theatre, and Nile Rodgers and CHIC fit has easily been one of them. It’ll be hard to beat such a fantastic party night as this one, and Rodgers certainly proved he’s written a multitude of timeless records. And he still loves to put on a show.
Images: Cuffe and Taylor