Masaharu Yoshioka- Soul Searchin' Music Critic's Diary (December 2009)
Al McKay Allstars Live: The Essence
After a quick meal at Hachiku-tei, I rushed over to Billboard Live for the live show of the former Earth Wind & Fire guitarist, Al McKay. They have come back after 8 months since their last visit in April 2009. The virtually full crowd at the Billboard Live were almost all Earth Wind & Fire fans as well. The Al McKay Allstars live shows deliver the essence of the time when Earth Wind & Fire was at its very best, and that is what is so pleasing to die-hard fans from those days. I thought so when they last came but confirmed my thoughts again.
4 Horns, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Percussion, 2 Keyboards, 3 Vocals, a total of 13. When there's this many, the stage seems so small.
From no. 7 on the set list below to the final no. 15 "September", they whipped up the crowd, the disco mirror ball turned and turned, the crowd danced and danced. Their arms were up in the air, pointing and waving from side to side with fervor. Not a single moment lost, a non-stop, breathless spell.
Say, "Saturday Nite," which the current Earth Wind & Fire won't do. Say, "Magic Mind," which the current Earth Wind & Fire won't do. Say, "Let Your Feelings Show," which the current Earth Wind & Fire won't do. When you hear these songs, any EWF fan would go wild. An absolutely irresistible blast!
I felt that the left-handed Al McKay's solo on "That's The Way Of The World" was longer than usual. A really good feel. Although the set list was almost the same, they know and deliver with the concept of good music is good however many times you hear it.
After the show, I spoke to Al. His spirits were high as it was right after the live performance. The stage was small but backstage seemed smaller than usual, too. That's because there are so many of them. "Yoshioka-san, Osaka was a great success, too. Aren't you coming to the New Year's Eve Count Down?" He asked me. Ummm...
In mid-December, I saw the current Earth Wind & Fire live show and then at the end of the month, Al McKay's live show. I am going into the New Year doing a synthesis of the 2 live shows in my head.
Setlist: Al McKay Allstars...
Show started 21:31
00. Intro: On The Way Up
01. Serpentine Fire
02. Got To Get You Into My Life
03. Can't Let Go
04. Saturday Nite
05. After The Love Has Gone
07. In The Stone
11. Magic Mind
12. Let Your Feelings Show
13. Can't Hide Love
14. That's The Way Of The World
Enc. Let's Groove
Show ended 22:51