It's hard to find artists who sound just as good live as they do on a recorded track but last night I was blown away by the legendary Maze featuring Frankie Beverly! It's a hard to believe a band who have been together for 45 years... YES, 45 YEARS still sound as fresh as they did when they released their self-entitled debut LP in 1977!! The Philly based group originally called "Raw Soul"(later changed to Maze as advised by Marvin Gaye) performed at the Hammersmith Apollo last night after not visiting the UK for a good few years... Man, I tell you it was worth the wait! They opened with "Southern Girl", a brilliant uptempo track to get any crowd excited... funnily enough the crowd didn't really get hype and jump out of their seats at that point. A few songs later the Apollo ERUPTED when the much more mellow "We Are One" was performed. Everyone was out of their seats, there was nothing more in sight than the band on stage and a sea of raised index fingers representing the oneness between the audience and the music... It was emotional to say the least. From then on near enough everyone remained out of their seats until the end of the show, whether they were simply head bobbing or grooving and swaying like me!
No doubt about it, Frankie Beverly still has got what it takes to please the crowd with his silky vocals that have over the years become a little more rugged and although he struggled with some notes he still went to town and put a lot of modern performers to shame. The man is 61 years of age and still manages to execute a performance as if he was 21 - minus the stiff moves as my dad pointed out throughout the show!
It really was an honour and a blessing to be able to see such an incredible band live on stage and the fact that they performed for nearly 2 hours made it even more special, I mean what live act do you know stays on stage for that amount of time these days?!? But I think the highlight of the night for everyone was when one of the group's most notorious hits 'Joy & Pain' was projected from the stage into the soul's of everyone in attendance. Ooh wee, there was no going back, even my dad who is quite a reserved kinda guy had to get up and buss' a lil two-step! The place was so full of good vibes and vast amounts of energy serious lacking in shows currently. I can't lie though, I was quite disappointed that certain songs weren't performed such as 'Too Many Games', 'Magic' and their CLASSIC 1985 instrumental joint 'Twilight'. Regardless, it was still hit after hit after hit and I loved every minute of it!! One of the best gifts ever receieved :D
Im gonna leave you with some of the live action I managed to record on the night. Enjoy...
We Are One:
Joy & Pain: