Al McKay Allstars Live: The Essence

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

  1. Intro: On The Way Up
  2. Serpentine Fire
  3. Got To Get You Into My Life
  4. Can’t Let Go
  5. Saturday Nite
  6. After The Love Has Gone
  7. Reasons
  8. In The Stone
  9. Fantasy
  10. Jupiter
  11. Getaway
  12. Magic Mind
  13. Let Your Feelings Show
  14. Can’t Hide Love
  15. That’s The Way Of The World
  16. September
  17. Enc. Let’s Groove
    Show ended 22:51

You might be interested in …