Tuesday 16 January 2018

Review: Chic, Tripod, Dublin

Nile Rodgers
Nile Rodgers
John Meagher

John Meagher

Even before his band takes to the stage, Nile Rodgers is walking among the crowd, shaking hands, signing autographs, posing for photos. Dressed head-to-toe in white and sporting dreadlocks, this youthful 57-year-old is like the hippest politician you'll ever meet, working the room.

It's clear he enjoys the adulation, and there's plenty of that over the course of the next 90 minutes. It may be 30 years since Chic's heyday, but their brand of disco party music has stood the test of time remarkably well.

Those who caught them at last year's Electric Picnic will know that the Rodgers and friends are capable of delivering a performance to live long in the memory -- and this, the first of two Dublin shows, is no exception.

The good vibrations are best summed up by one of the band's most celebrated songs, 'Good Times', and everybody is on their feet, moving with abandon to the funky beat.

Besides his band's material, there's room for songs Rodgers either wrote or produced. Consequently, there's a soulful take on Madonna's 'Like A Virgin' -- with Mexican vocalist Melissa Jimenez at the fore -- and a rip-roaring brass-led version of Bowie's 'Let's Dance'. The latter provides one of the night's highlights and both songs show what a major part Rodgers had to play in the pop world of the mid-1980s.

The feel-good atmosphere is captured when Rodgers mentions the birthday of his drummer, Ralph Rolle, and the crowd breaks into an impromptu -- and lengthy -- rendition of Stevie Wonder's 'Happy Birthday'. Rodgers suggests there's something special about Irish audiences and in that moment, you sense he might be speaking the truth.

Predictably, the night ends with the band's most famous number, 'Le Freak'.

Crowd participation is key here, and there's something tantalising about 1,200 people taking a great song and making it even better.

Irish Independent

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