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Earth, Wind & Fire at Chene Park, 3 Thngs To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Start ticking off Earth, Wind & Fire's hits, and you may be here awhile.

Over 48 years and 21 albums, the group has created a body of soul/funk/pop/jazz hybrid music that's iconic and just about unmatched. Think "September," "Shining Star," "That's The Way of the World," Sing a Song," "Let's Groove," "Getaway"...you get the idea. It's exceptional and inventive, the reason EWF is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The beat goes on, too; EWF remains a fixture on the road, spreading a little "Serpentine Fire" wherever it goes...

With such an extensive repertoire, bassist Verdine White, brother of the late EWF founder Maurice White, says by phone that the group tries to present a different kind of show each time out. "We always like to tweak the show a little bit. We have, like, five generations of people that come to the show, so that's a great thing for us. The legacy, of course, is great. We just play the music and give the people what they want to hear."

White, 67, says the most unexpected success in EWF's catalog, for him, is "September," which was recorded for the group's first "Best of" album in 1978 (and co-written by Detroit native Allee Willis). "I would say that for the average person, and a lot of people, 'September' is the song everybody loves. I didn't expect it to be like that, where you have everybody all over the whole world loving the same song. If they don't know us, they know that song. We thought it was a really great song, but we never thought it would make that much impact."

EWF's last releases were "Now, Then & Forever" in 2013 and the seasonal "Holiday" the following year. White says there are no plans to be back in the studio at the moment, however. "The concerts are what we're concentrating on right now. We're blessed, 'cause there's so much demand to see us so we try to go out and play for the people and put on great shows. That's our priority now."

If You Go:

Earth, Wind & Fire and Sheila E.

8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18.

Chene Park Amphitheatre, 2600 E. Atwater, Detroit.

Tickets are $65.

Call (800) 745-3000 or visit cheneparkdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.cheneparkdetroit.com

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