Never Changing Al McKay (Billboard Live – Japan)

Live Report by Masaharu Yoshioka (September 2011)

Never Changing Al McKay


A great show is always great. A great show is great however many times you see it. The Al McKay Allstars’ live shows deliver such a high level of perfection that however many times you see them they are always great!

The solid rhythm, the strong horn section and the 3 powerful vocalists. Then, there’s that perfect rhythm from Al’s guitar, the sound of Earth Wind & Fire when they were at their best.

The set list was a complete revival of last year’s shows even to the order of the songs except for one of the encores “Boogie Wonderland,” which they did not perform. The non-stop medley from “In The Stone” to “September” was high-powered energy driven! The entire crowd were all on their feet dancing.

When the 13-member band goes on stage, the stage is crowded. When the 3 vocals do their dance routines, there isn’t much space but yet they’re dancing around up there. They prove that the faithful recreation of the hit songs is what makes the fans happy.

Towards the end of the ballad “Reasons,” saxophonist Ed Wynne does his long solo and the dialog with one of the lead vocalists, Tim Owens (the one with the long dreadlocks) is absolutely amazing. Tim sings the falsetto parts, the parts sung by EWF’s Philip Bailey. The clear-cut refrains by the 4 horns on “Magic Mind” are just great however many times you hear it.

“September” had the whole crowd jumping. Finally, after the show, some of the members came out to sign autographs.

After the show, I spoke to Al briefly with Kamasami Kong. Al said, “Next time, I’m thinking of including some of EWF’s other hits like “Mighty Mighty,” “Shining Star,” and “Sing A Song.” So once again, I pushed for “Back On The Road.”

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