There was a swankiness about Chic’s Nile Rodgers in Cork for the festival of music which winds up on Tuesday next. God knows the man epitomises everything about the word — dapper, dashing, mod.
Direct from the new Heart Ibiza club, via Dublin, the legendary, and charming, guitarist/songwriter docked in the Docklands and despite the gloomy weather, the temperature in Cork was hot, Ibiza-hot.
The set was a non-stop hit parade. It’s not often you get to a gig with your 26-year-old son and his partner, fanatical funkies, just like the old man and old lade, but it was disco time... move out of the way kid, like the rest of the country, ‘I’m Coming Out’. Rodgers breezed through the disco songbook he and his late partner Bernard Edwards wrote, with everything from ‘Everybody Dance,’ the opener, to ‘I Want our Love’, ‘I’ll Be There’, and ‘Upside Down’.
A packed Marquee went wild as he and his six-piece band, two outstanding female vocalists, especially Kimberly Davis, delved into hits written or produced for other artists — Diana Ross’s the aforementioned ‘I’m Coming Out’, Sheila B Devotion’s ‘Spacer’, Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ and his immaculate collection for Sister Sledge.
The unstoppable momentum was building, and building, with the material for what turned out to be the party of the year, delivered impeccably by a well-oiled machine. Whoever said vintage was so last year?
A rapturous ‘I Want Your Love’ (he certainly had it), a groovy ‘Let’s Dance’; ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’; ‘We Are Family’ all lead up to ‘Le Freak’. Everyone was on the groove train, heading for … ‘Good Times’.
After helping to define the sound of my era, the ’70s, Rodgers and Edwards went on to create one of the most iconic pop albums of the 80s, Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’. Almost into the ’90s there was that remix ‘The Reflex — Notorious’ (Duran Duran) and despite a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2010, Rodgers continued to work, and his collaboration with French techno duo Daft Punk produced not only the 2013 song of the summer but also one his biggest hits ever — ‘Get Lucky’.
Chic’s comeback single released earlier this year boasts their trademark sound — funky disco rhythms, killer baseline, and of course happy lyrics. The single is a tribute to Rodgers’ producing and songwriting partner, Bernard Edwards, who died in 1996 and features on their new album, It’s About Time. When he launched into a soulful Chic-ified rendition… We could have stayed ‘Up All Night’, so to speak, for a perfect night of music.
If he manages to make it next year… ‘I’ll be there’.