by Cheryl Williams and William Jackson
The two (2) day 2011 Funk Fest started
off Funky with performances
by MC Hammer which got the over
6,000 in attendance in the mood to
groove and dance.
cool evening air. Mother Nature cooperated perfectly setting up the
atmosphere as if in perfect preparation for a Funk-filled partying
atmosphere for Earth Wind and Fire.
The crowd embracing the elements that made the evening atmospherically
in harmony with the music. This being my first time seeing EWF in concert
I instantly could see why they are one of the most popular groups in
Phillip Bailey’s vocal talents were electrifying from beginning
to end. His range of vocal artistic quality started from a high first
Soprano then flowing melo-dynamically and harmonizing vocal-
dynamic to a soul stroking Bass. Seasoning by years of 100’s
of performances, this has not diminished Earth Wind and Fire’s
showmanship, energy, creativity, artistry nor the ability to please
an audience ranging multiculturally and in age that spans decades
of appreciation for the talents of EWF. The crowd was
intimately involved swaying, dancing, singing and in some cases
overwhelmed with emotion as songs such as Reasons, After the
Love Is Gone and others flowed through the air creating an
almost spiritual essence that flowed even as
the evening concluded on this first day.
During the course of the performances the Earth elements
seemed to take pleasure in the excitement of the music as a
cool breeze continued to caress the crowd, the ground beneath
vibrated to the music, invigorated from the beats and tones created
by the pulsating instrumentations of these talented entertainers.
Earth Wind and Fire is celebrated and respected as Rock and Roll
Hall of Famers, Multi Grammy Honors and Gold, Platinum, and
Multi Platinum Winners. Their performance will be remembered
long after the Funk Fest is over.
The second day of Funkiness was started off and continued
by performances of entertainers with aspiring musical wishes,
these talented individuals lead up to the Main Attraction for the ;
Frankie Beverly and Maze, these iconic entertainers have been
performing over 45 years. Starting in Philadelphia and expanding
their musical R&B and Ole Skool musical hits across the country.
The emotional energy started from the first song and remained until
the last melody. . Dancing and singing to songs that not only brought
the crowd to their collective feet, but created an atmosphere where it
seemed everyone was in awe from the lyrics which were positive
There is a mystic almost spiritual ingredient to the music of Maze.
Unlike other performers Maze has a connection that those seasoned
with age and life experiences can relate too. Songs like Happy Feelings
and That’s the Golden Time of Day; there is a spiritual tone that can
uplift any spirit not respecting any color, creed, culture or hue of
skin tone. The force of the power of music was witnessed when
“We Are One” was sung; creating a crescendo of harmony and
synchronization not seen at this magnitude in Jacksonville.
Everyone was joined in a connection that transcended color,
gender and generation. This is the ability of Frankie Beverly and
Maze’s talent to musically touch the souls of people no matter the
age generation or skin color. True power of music was shown by
the Master himself; Frankie Beverly who exudes a humbleness
that defies his presence in music and artistry.
Cheryl Williams has had the opportunity to attend concerts
featuring Maze for the last 5 years when they come to Jacksonville,
she states that, “Frankie and Maze have the ability to bring unity
and harmony to people that are perfect strangers when they meet
at his concerts, but when they leave and the show is over those
people are friends.”
Jacksonville is better for the performances of Earth Wind and
Fire and Frankie Beverly and Maze.
“this is the best way to unite Jacksonville and look past our