First three songs, no flash – the rule that guides the world of music photography.
Going by it, Chic must be a shooter’s dream – not for the chance to snap Nile Rodgers in his trademark white hat looking like a disco pope, or for the opportunity to capture vocalist Kimberly Davis’ latest diva dress. Chic quite simply have the strongest first three songs of any setlist out there. You can’t argue with an opening of ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah)’ and especially ‘I Want Your Love’ – three of the best disco records ever cut, and not a break between them.
Only then as the photographers pack away their lenses are the crowd allowed a moment’s respite, only then can the feet stop dancing. At this point it’s customary for Nile Rodgers to explain just why Chic can play such a strong setlist. He has the “best day job in the world,” writing hits with Daft Punk, Madonna, Sister Sledge and many more – and then they rip through an extended medley of all his number one hits – “just the number ones though, or we’ll be here all evening!”
Whether you’re from New York or New Ross, whether you lived through the golden days of disco or only discovered it with ‘Get Lucky’, it doesn’t matter – this section is totally irresistible. A band could dine for life off just one singalong as strong as Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ or Diana Ross’ ‘I’m Coming Out’, and even now with the Chic renaissance in full swing, taking them to venues of this size, it’s still remarkable to think that Rodgers had a hand in both and more.
Rodgers is sure too to commend Ireland’s role in remaking Chic – their 2009 Electric Picnic slot has gone down in the festival annals and led to many more storming nights like these. “Dublin never disappoints,” drummer Ralph Rolle insists in a fine piece of crowd-hyping before he takes the vocals for ‘Let’s Dance’. If any venue could withstand what came before, it’s ‘Let’s Dance’ that always tears the house down, and with a closing duo of ‘Le Freak’ and ‘Good Times’, Chic never disappoint either.
Chic photographed for State by Mark Earley