Monday, April 16, 2012

Kool and The Gang Concert Review

What is the most unlikely musical pairing you can think of for a concert? Miranda Lambert and Chris Brown? Marilyn Manson and Jars of Clay? Yo-Yo Ma and Odd Future? Van Halen and Kool and the Gang might rank fairly high on this list too, which is why these two groups currently touring together throughout the country seems like an odd pairing at best. I saw them at the Verizon Center in DC a few weeks ago and thought I would share a few thoughts about the show. Sure, I could write about how Van Halen still rocks and how David Lee Roth is slightly (or more) crazy (he showed home videos of him and his dogs on his ranch and yelled several times to turn off the f@#ing blowers), but I saw little coverage of Kool and the Gang’s performance, so I figured I would write something here.

First of all, how did the Van Halen-Kool and the Gang partnership come together? Here’s the answer from Kool (or perhaps one of the Gang):

We were excited when we heard about it. We were surprised too, because Van Halen being hard rock and we're funk pop. But then as I was speaking to David, he told me he saw us performing at the Glastonbury Festival. We had about 60,000 people, and we rocked them. I guess when he got together with Eddie and Alex, he said, "I want Kool and the Gang to be our support." They said, "Why Kool and the Gang?" He said, "Hey, man, I saw these guys get down in London." He said, "We were the rock party band of the '80s and you were the pop-funk band of the '80s. Hey, Kool, let's go out and have a party."

So there you go. As you probably expected, the Van Halen crowd was slow to warm to Kool and the Gang during the first few songs. To their credit, KATG (it’s easier to type this instead of Kool and the Gang over and over) knew the audience...and soon enough won us over. I guess that happens when you’ve been around for 40 years and have numerous hits. Seriously, it seemed like I said to the guys next to me during every song either “I know that song” or “I didn’t know that was Kool and the Gang.” It also helps that Jungle Boogie is an awesome song (the horns were amazing).

So a few random thoughts about KATG and their performance:

Who knew that Kool is the bass player?

What is the “It” in KATG’s song Get Down On It? Is it safe to get down on it?

Naturally, everyone was on their feet for Celebration, the finale of KATG’s performance. By the way, for my entire life, I thought that the sing-along part of the song was Woo-hoo or perhaps Yoo-hoo. Apparently, it’s Yahoo. I disagree with KATG here.

I hope I have as much energy as some of the members of KATG when I'm that age!

In case you wanted to read more about the VH concert, check out The Washington Post and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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