LYNN – There’s a party going on right here, at Lynn Auditorium Friday night. Kool & the Gang, the Jersey City hitmakers who have performed continuously longer than any other R&B group in history (54 years), are leading the celebration.
There are 10 guys on stage, creating a glorious racket. Led by two vocalists, anchored by solid drum and bass, and fueled by funky saxophone, trumpet and trombone, this feel-good music gets heads bopping, feet tapping and rumps shaking.
Oddly, the near capacity crowd, at least in the orchestra section, stayed seated for the first few songs. Some concertgoers even asked those dancing in front of them to sit down. How is that possible? These songs are made for dancing. Who goes to a Kool & the Gang show expecting to sit still all night!
Anyhoo, eventually the auditorium became one sweaty, dance floor. Women led the charge, with men slowly joining in, joyfully moving and grooving to the rhythm and blues.
One forgets how many hits these guys have had. All were performed Friday night. “Celebration,” a staple at nearly every wedding party in America, closed the show in lively fashion. Everyone stood and danced, shouting out the “yahoo” chorus as one.
“Too Hot” was sultry, sexy and smooth. The love ode “Joanna” stirred the heart and soul. On “Cherish,” singer Walt Anderson crooned as if he were seducing every woman in the joint.
Things really started heating up with “Open Sesame,” a fab, funky wonder driven by the horn section. The horns, especially trumpet, and rhythm section powered “Hollywood Swingin” and a furious “Jungle Boogie,” encouraging fans to get down, get down and feel the funk.
The intensity level skyrocketed with the set-closing one-two punch of “Ladies’ Night” and “Get Down On It,” with its squawking sax solo and trombone blasts.
Kool & the Gang remains a ferocious live act. Oh, what a night!