Earth Wind & Fire and Chic Play PPG Paints; Little Lake Opens ‘The Audience’ (Thurs., 8/10/17)

1) Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most successful soul/funk bands of the late ’70s and early to mid ’80s. There are many reasons for the band’s success, mainly the musical genius of EWF’s leader, the late Maurice White. White fused musical genres together, including soul, funk, African rhythms, gospel, rock, and jazz. He combined that with a tight band of top-notch musicians, including a horn section, mystical lyrics and staging, and the soaring voice of Philip Bailey. White and Bailey were the two lead singers with Bailey possessing a beautiful falsetto voice with a four-octave range. 1975’s That’s the Way of the World was the band’s first big album and produced the hits “That’s the Way of the World,” “Shining Star,” and “Reasons.” EWF has received 20 Grammy nominations, winning six as a group and White and Bailey garnering two individual awards. White’s brother Verdine is the longtime bassist for the band.

“These are the good times” sang the band Chic in 1979 in their song “Good Times.” And they were good times for the band and their fans. The song is actually one of the most sampled songs of all time and was used by the Sugarhill Gang in their hit “Rapper’s Delight.” Chic had many other top songs that pulled people onto the discoteque dance floors too including “Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love,” and “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).” The band had its own musical mastermind in Nile Rodgers, who produced and tweaked Chic’s sound and lineup during the formation. A little “horse trading” by Rodgers allowed Chic and the Chic-produced band Sister Sledge to trade songs to get what each group wanted. Sister Sledge got the Bernie Edwards and Rodgers song “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” and Chic got the song intended for Sister Sledge, “I Want Your Love.” Edwards, who co-founded Chic, has since passed to the great disco in the sky, but Rodgers still tours. 7:30 p.m. PPG Paints Arena, 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (RH)

2) One of British politics unique customs is the weekly meeting, or “audience,” between the Queen of England and the Prime Minister. The meetings are private and are not recorded. The queen and prime minister do not share their discussions with their respective spouses. All us commoners know is that the prime minister updates the queen, who is politically neutral, on political affairs. She can privately debate her or him. Peter Morgan, who wrote the play Frost/Nixon, imagines what it might be like to be a fly on the wall throughout history in The Audience. The play omits some of the prime ministers, but expect to see Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and David Cameron. Helen Mirren played the role of Queen Elizabeth II during the play’s West End, London, premier, and she played her again on Broadway. The Broadway performance won Mirren the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. 8 p.m. Performances continue through August 26. Little Lake Theatre Company, 500 Lakeside Dr., Canonsburg. (CM)

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Rick Handler

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