UK Tour review - Soul-patrol
Going to see the Chi Lites? You will have a great time. So said a number of
folks in my soul circle.
So I was expecting a good show with loads of hits and a chance for us in the
UK to pay tribute to those staples of Chicago Soul from the Brunswick days
of Eugene Record and Barbara Acklin, the Chicago of Curtis Mayfield, Gene
Chandler and Jerry Butler. So inevitably I was just expecting a very
enjoyable oldies show in essence. So a great great time was indeed going to
What I actually saw was a fantastic return to the UK by the present line up
of Chi Lites that surpassed anything I had assumed. The sound they recreated
( the fantastic Frank Read lead vocal) was so so close to the original hits
all delivered with a vitality and with a seemingly long lost skill of many
present entertainers, that being the ability to actually entertain the
audience. The ability to put on a show and take the audience along with
with songs that got ever increasing whoops of joy to the opening bars of
well remembered songs from the devoted audience.
Looking uber cool in orange zoot suits a la Cab Calloway they got applause
just for the stage uniforms.
At 51 years as a Chi Lite Marshall Thompson has picked up the baton from
Eugene Record and is running with it, taking the lead in many more songs he
than he ever did in the 70`s. Also on new songs like "Hold on to your
dreams" he took the audience on a soul trip that had many ( including me)
wiping tears from their eyes. With the closing stanza he took the UK
audience "back to Church" with a powerful emotive performance.
All the hits were there with a well selected set list that also included a
couple of Temptations classics that some reviews have questioned the
validity of , but for me they fitted in perfectly serving as a way of
increasing the sense of contact with the audience. The stand out tunes that
got the most appreciative reaction from the capacity crowd were "Power to
the people" "Have you seen her" "Homely girl" "I found Sunshine" "Stoned
out of my mind" "To good to be forgotten" and of course "Oh Girl".
Along with Marshall the 'last man standing', with 51 years service, was
Frank Read with over 25 years service and I was pleasantly surprised to see
Fred Simon made up the third member carrying the all important bass duties,
as I knew of Fred in his 'Lost Generation' days. As Marshall said ,Fred had
only been in the Chi Lites a little over two years but Marshall had known
him for over 40 years.
Marshall knew I was in the audience as we had been emailing each other but
imagine my delight and surprise that during the closing moments for the
show, as a triumphant Chi Lites enthusiastically shook hands from the stage
with the fans who at that point crowded to the edge of the stage to thank
and greet the great Chi-Lites, he gave a shout out to Soul Patrol.
Twice he called out "Hey Soul Patrol..Where you at?"
I was able to spend some time with Marshall after the show and found him a
true gentleman that talked with great knowledge of the music of Chicago and,
of course, the Chi -lites history that I found fascinating. His support for
Bob and the Soul Patrol members was obvious and he especially asked me to
say hi to Bob on his behalf.
So in essence, I was always a fan of The Chi Lites since I first played the
siren intro to "(For Gods Sake) Give more power to the people" in the 70's
but I am now an even greater fan and happy to be the friend of a true
legend, a Chi Lite for an amazing half a century and still out there doing
This was the first tour by the group in the UK for over 24 years and I truly
hope its not to long before we can welcome them back again to these shores.
Thank you Soul Patrol and thank you Marshall.
|I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing another Chi-Lites show, this
time in Detroit at the annual Ribs & Soul fest. I arrived during Midnight
Star's set which was very, very energetic. They were funkin the place up
quite well and the packed facility was loving it. They ended their set with
Freak-A-Zoid which was perfect for a closer.
After a brief tear-down/set-up, the Chi-Lites band took the stage. this was
a special treat for me as I thoroughly enjoyed seeing two of my Chi-Town
homies, brothers Bill & Marvin Weatherspoon on bass and keys. This band took
'energetic' to the 10th power. They were straight clowning, playing off one
another on the dynamics and prancing from side of the stage to the other. It
was easy to see that they were having a ball. Then Marshall led the
Chi-Lites onto the stage......slowly, methodthically and ever so COOL. They
were daper as ever in their peach tailored long suits and pimp-a-licious
'brims'. They opened the set with 'Are you my woman', with that infamous
horn line that beyonce used on her hit 'Crazy in love'. From that point on,
the Chi-Lites had the crowed eating out of their hands.....they were just so
cool, yet energized. The crowd was hyped for this show and the Chi-Lites did
NOT dissapoint them.
I had talked to Marvin earlier this week and told him I'd be there. He
simply said 'it's gonna be off-da-CHAIN'..!!! THAT.....was an
On da Smoov tip.........
Ron B Smoov