Nile Rodgers & Chic: Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
Sunshine and disco? Don’t mind if we do! Mark Johnstone catches Nile Rodgers & Chic at Aintree Racecourse.
Stunning weather, with a mix of racing and a nice topping of feel good music; what more could you ask for on a Friday night?
With the nights getting brighter, it felt more like a Saturday afternoon, however it was really after 8pm, and there were two races left on the schedule.
We’re not racing fans ourselves, but we suspect that the performance by Nile Rodgers & Chic could either be a celebration or a drowning one’s sorrows – possibly on the water given the drink prices. As the last race ended, the spectators began making their way to the field outside the racecourse for the after party.
Rodgers has been on a resurgence for the last decade that has seen him welcomed everywhere at every time, to the point where his inevitable appearance at big events is starting to become a cliché. His setlist never really changes, so repeated viewings can become a bit monotonous.
But, there are always the people who have never experienced it, and when you do return to see him, that back catalogue still makes your jaw drop.
With no support act, Rodgers and this tight, funky incarnation of Chic – in particular Kimberley Davis, whose vocal was flawless – took to the stage with back to back classics Chic Cheer, Dance Dance Dance, Everybody Dance and I Want Your Love, just a glimpse of what was to come.
Most artists would put the songs they wrote for others in a quick medley, if they were to play them at all. But most of these count as Chic songs as much as the artists who recorded them. 1980’s diana album is both the best Diana Ross album and the best Chic album. So, it only feels right to indulge Rodgers in hearing his number one hits played back to back, from Miss Ross to David Bowie, Sister Sledge to Madonna, right up to Daft Punk.
Summertime jams like I’m Coming Out, Get Lucky and Let’s Dance are perfectly complimented by a beautiful sunset.
After a good half hour (at least) of his classic songwriters set, and it was time to get back into the Chic catalogue. Everybody boogied to anthems like Le Freak and the perfect ending of Good Times, with Rodgers throwing in some lyrics from Rappers Delight, which famously sampled the latter and showed how influential he has been.
No encore was needed after a solid 90 minute set and a sensational performance. Great energy, great vibe, great location, great weather and, of course, good times.
The Jockey Club are also hosting Paloma Faith (Fri 1st July), Madness (Sat 16th July) and Rudimental (Fri 5th Aug) at Haydock.
Photographs by Gary Dougherty