Rob Jones

Despite the new Chic album ‘It’s about Time’ and more fresh material on the way the current Nile Rodgers led dates focus firmly on those golden grooves that put this majestic maverick on the musical map. The main man has assembled a fine group of nine nuggets who do credit to a series of timeless choreographic classics – many of which were created in the late ’70s.

The Motorpoint, Cardiff united a series of dancefloor anthems made famous by Chic but also precious gems written and/or produced by Rodgers as a solo entity or with his sadly departed performance sidekick Bernard Edwards (who passed away in 1996). This list of collaborations makes for an immense and impressive list but cherry-picked from that sumptuous selection and perfectly prepared for the stage are songs that were recorded by: David Bowie, Diana Ross, Madonna, Duran Duran, Sister Sledge and Daft Punk/Pharrell Williams. That can only mean one thing – and Tuesday Night Fever ensued in the Welsh capital via this list of lustre:
Everybody Dance
Dance, Dance, Dance
I Want Your Love
I’m Coming Out
Upside Down
He’s the Greatest Dancer
We Are Family
Like a Virgin
Lost in Music
Thinking of You
My Feet Keep Dancing
Get Lucky
Chic Cheer
My Forbidden Lover
Let’s Dance
Le Freak
Good Times

The Welsh punters witnessed breathtaking brilliance that cannot fail with the Duke of Disco on phenomenal form. Rodgers is at the helm orchestrating his own monumental merchandise and he thrives in the electric environment that his genius has sparked. In the period 1977-79, I was making the fan transition from glam and heavy metal into punk and disco – and, Nile was the dance Dean guiding me through an important era in my own development. Across the way, Mark E. Smith forged my alternative rock needs and the unlikely link was that many years later The Fall were to cover Lost in Music.

The first Chic recordings appeared in 1977 but Nile is probably more in demand these days as a 66-year-old on the ball groove guru. An absolutely rammed venue proved that the popularity of this performer is at a fresh peak. Rodgers has many disciples and a five thousand capacity venue was brimming with elation.

To add to which the starman took time to address his audience. It was a pleasure to hear about his tales of a weird allegiance to Colwyn Bay from his early touring career with the fact he has knowledge of Wales being a credit to him (and this is sadly not always the case with our American cousins). Mr. R. spoke candidly about the fact that he has overcome cancer and he feels blessed to have a new start. What also became evident was his incredible work ethic plus a love of life and a unique drive to apply maximum endeavour in order to enhance his undeniable gifts. This is one remarkable man who us mere mortals are overjoyed to have in our presence!

The ensemble of players proved to be consummate professionals, the light show and photographic backdrops were first class, the supreme songs spoke for themselves and the audience played a major role through their incredible interaction. Each musician was given a chance to shine and their director celebrates the contributions of every singular entity as the collective bond became a colossal band. Kimberley and Folami take the share of vocal duties with their velvet voices being a delight to savour but the variety in so many departments of a diligent delivery adds to the appeal of an immaculate show.

This evening was the ultimate seasonal present and this experience turned an ordinary midweek night into an extraordinary musical treat! I have had the pleasure of witnessing many greats in the live forum but to add Nile Rodgers to that stellar gallery has made me one happy chappy! I had also been given a pass to get up and join the throng on stage for the ultimate set closer – Good Times – but, unfortunately, a chance to throw a few shapes in front of a large crowd did not occur – as I am not the greatest dancer! Nonetheless, a chance to view this spectacle from a seated arena where everybody remained upright and on the move was the only place to be!

To conclude:

Good times, these are the good times
Leave your cares behind, these are the good times
Good times, these are the good times
Our new state of mind, these are the good times

Say no more, Chic Cheer indeed! The river Nile is awash with waves of wonderment! We love him!

Merry Christmas to one and all – and, this delightful December danceathon was a phenomenal festive freakout!