In the 70s and 80s, the name Nile Rodgers together with partner Bernard Edwards built the foundations of dance music today through disco and the band Chic.
At the same time on the other side of “the pond” Leo Sayer was creating a series of songs that would become the classic hits we still hear everyday.
In 2005, Leo migrated to Sydney, Australia. In 2012, Nile Rodgers toured Chic for the first time in Australia. In the audience of the Sydney show … Leo Sayer.
Here is Leo’s review of the show:
“In the mid seventies, I was in New York, and disco was in its birth. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were already established as the in studio godfathers of New York disco music, that quintessential Harlem Shuffle.
“They created soul anthems out of elegant riffs that rang out like the soundtrack to the Big Apple’s disco age. They did for funk what Sly and Robbie did for reggae, and they made it groove.
“Bernard is no longer with us, but Nile continues to tour the world with his band, the Chic Organisation, preaching the disco mantra as only he and his fellow musicians can, playing the catalogue as if it’d just been invented, making it just as shiningly relevant for todays dance fans.
“So it was a rare pleasure to be at the Metro in Sydney’s CBD last Monday night, for Chic’s first ever Australian show.
“To a nearly packed out house, Nile, his guitar and band hit the stage running with “Everybody Dance”, “Dance, Dance, Dance”, “I Want Your Love”, and “The Greatest Dancer”. The intensity never let up, and a tribute to Diana Ross, who Nile produced in the 80’s, kept up the pressure. By now, like the song predicted, the whole audience was with the band, everybody dancing.
“It was the inclusion of so many of Rogers’ non Chic production and song-writing hits that proved biggest surprise of the show. Rousing versions of his Sister Sledge hits “Lost in Music” and “We are Family”, drummer Ralph Rolle’s spirited vocal on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, and even a killer version of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” (another Rogers landmark production), were stand outs. Then he casually told us that the three Farriss brothers were in the house to witness Nile’s funky take on “Original Sin”, which he produced for INXS in 1984.
“The hits rolled on, and the band just got better and better.
“Bassist Jerry Barnes was outstanding, jamming upfront with the bandleader, and singers Kimberly Davis and Folami should be soloists on their own records. The sound was big, with two keyboardists (Richard Hilton has been with Chic for twenty four years!) and two horn players adding extra sparkle to the mix.
“This collective energy never once let up throughout the set, and by the end the band just didn’t want to leave the stage, as much amazed as the audience were with the show’s outcome. It was that kinda night.
“For me (and I’m a fan) it was all the more amazing to witness such a performance knowing that Nile has been battling against cancer for the past two years. And he’s still battling it. But Nile is a special kinda guy. He knows his peer group as a musician is growing small in number these days, so he’s out there, doing the discipline, the air miles and the long nights, still patiently preaching the funk.
“When I get to see a show like Chic put on in Sydney, it reminds me of why I fell in love with music in the first place. That’s what Monday night did for all of us who were there.
“Thanks Mr Rogers, for an incredible show, your fighting spirit, your groove and your inspiration. Hurry back with the Chic posse and visit us Sydney-siders again soon….”