Chaka Khan makes waves at annual festival
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
When entering the Greek Theatre on Friday night, I thought for a moment that the Wavefest 2010 would probably be another event that the recession would affect. Sitting in a great seat to write a review on the concert, I began to think, Where are the people?
Shortly, in a rush similar to a stampede, the theatre began to fill very quickly with eager and excited fans. Â I said to myself, Now this is the kind of concert atmosphere I remember back in the day. Â The vibe was perfect from the get-go. Â I could tell I was in for a great show.
Mindy Abair, Poncho Sanchez, Chaka Khan and Michael McDonald headlined the show. Â I asked the audience members seated close to me what they thought of the artist lineup, and the common answer was that they wouldÂ not haveÂ missed it for the world.
I was very excited in anticipation of what was to come. Friday night was a beautiful evening, a little chillier than most but just perfect for sweating and dancing to some classic tunes.
Mindy Abair, with no hesitation, came out blowing her horn and the crowd immediately started jammin’. With a surprise visit from her high school friend Lalah Hathaway, who performed some of the tunes from her latest album “Self Portrait,” the performance was perfect in setting tempo for the night. Â The laid-back sound of Abair kept the audience in a trance. Â All I could think was, What a smooth performance to start the show.
Poncho Sanchez didn’t come out jammin’- he came out whaling, on congas, and the rhythm section and percussions whaled right along. I’ve seen him at a number of venues around the state, and every time, his music seems to fire up the audience.
When Sanchez introduced a song by Willie Bobo and started singing, it brought me way back. He continued to whale with his distinct Latin sound, and the large crowd of folks by then stepped out of their seats, and some were even in the aisles dancing. Poncho’s style is like no other and the excitement that he brings is second to none.
Chaka Khan as always started her show with the crowd out of their seats displaying great respect for the legendary performer. I must say that Chaka even moved me to the point that I found myself out of my seat dancing and enjoying what had been a great performance.
What can I say about Chaka Khan, other than that she continues to be the quality act that she has been for many, many years. As the show progressed, Chaka’s background dancers on this particular night brought the house down with their silky and smooth moves. I swear I was trying to keep up with them from my seat. Â Overall, Chaka’s performance was a great success for the Wavefest and definitely the highlight performance of the evening. Â GREAT PERFORMANCE, CHAKA!
After a star-studded evening, it was only right to end with the closer, Michael McDonald. Â I know in baseball, a sport that I love to watch, going into the ninth inning when in the heat of battle, it is important to always put in your best pitcher to close the game. Well, the closer of tonight’s game was just the right fit. Â Just like Chaka, Poncho and Mindy, Michael McDonald had to keep the crowd hyped and from start to finish, he didn’t disappoint.
Performing a number of his hits from over the years, McDonald didn’t miss a beat. He gave the audience a laugh when he indicated that he now has an “AARP card” and that he’d jokingly he asked his wife “What is this?” Â But he paused and said “What a deal!”
McDonald went on to introduce a member in his band, a saxophone player who had been with him for 40 years. After his introduction of his band and the jokes, he closed just like he opened – with great energy.