A pleasant surprise to start off my year.
I was attending a work conference and on the last night they planned a fun street party for us in the GasLamp District of San Diego. When we arrived we learned they had a special guest surprise. A Kool and the Gang concert in the middle of 5th street. Nice!
This won’t be a long review or go into that much detail…because honestly…Kool and the Gang is really the original “Kool” and a sorta new “gang”. But, frankly…it didn’t matter. They are the perfect corporate party band. A huge catalog of songs that people know performed well. They aren’t a band made up of names folks know. So, if the lead singer is 20 years younger than the bass player (Kool)…who cares?
I’d worked with them a couple times a decade ago in support a couple corporate gigs. Many of the faces had changed since then, but a couple were the same. so, there is some history still up there. It’ll be interesting to see how they go over as an opener on the upcoming Van Halen tour (yes, they are opening for Van Halen?…weird, but it might just work…)
They had a lot more time as a headliner, 90 minutes that they filled with the hits you expected and a few that you’d say…”Oh yeah, they did do that too…”
“Fresh” kicked things off and was soon followed by a solid progression of “Emergency” into “JoAnna” followed by “Too Hot” and then a spot on take of Michael Jackson’s “Shake your Body”. The lead singer even tossed in a couple MJ spins and moves. Back deep in the catalog brought out the early hits “Hollywood Swinging” and “Jungle Boogie” with a nice James Brown medley next.
I was moving around the party at this point and missed a few of the song titles, but they finished with a one two punch of “Get Down on It” and the obligatory “Celebrate”. All ages were dancing at that point. Which is the exact point of a well chosen corporate band for a gig. Get the crowd moving, make sure they have some fun and send them home smiling. Kool and the Gang exactly filled that bill and did a near perfect job of it.
Here’s a clip from the 2011 Glastonbury where they headlined West Holts.