Continuing this season’s run of shows at the Iveagh Gardens, it was the turn of Chic featuring Nile Rodgers tonight. This time round they are doing two shows, with the second down in the Marquee in Cork, fresh from a run of dates in the UK. Very much a feel good atmosphere pervaded the gardens, with the intimate surroundings giving the feeling of a band setting up to play in your admittedly grand back yard. Chic & Nile Rodgers are a regular on these shores, so much so that it’s a wonder Rodgers doesn’t apply for some sort of residency. The Irish love this band and it’s easy to see why, it’s possible to go to an entire Summer of Irish weddings and hear nothing but Chic & Nile Rodgers written / produced / performed songs. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but not much of one. Rodgers could probably make a run for the presidency and do quite well.
The rain thankfully holds off, it makes a half-hearted attempt to dampen the spirits of revelers before the show but is roundly ignored and takes its business elsewhere. A relaxed Nile Rodgers strolls nonchalantly onto the stage a good 2-3 minutes before the band, holding what looks like a video camera, exchanging pleasantries with the crowd. Finally the band arrive, striking in white, and take up their positions and the official announcement is made.
Straight out of the traps Rodger’s guitar shimmers through the brass section as the band launches into an avalanche of disco favourites. Kicking off with ‘Everybody Dance’ they’re straight into ‘Dance Dance Dance’. The band settle into the evening with some extended soloing on ‘I Want Your Love. The next two hours is a showcase of Nile Rodgers and Chic’s 40 odd years in music, with Sister Sledge and Diana Ross firm favourites in the Chic stable. They even make Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ listenable, no mean feat…
The band are in great form and Rodgers, well known for his love of performing, is clearly enjoying himself. This is a man who’s reaction on being told he had aggressive prostate cancer in 2010, was to walk out the door and do a string of shows in Italy before discussing his options with his doctor. Thankfully cancer free since 2013, a fact he alluded to later in the show, he upped his work rate considerably, most recently displaying his guitar chops on Daft Punks mega-hit ‘Get Lucky’, demonstrating that he’s not just a relic from yesteryear but still a potent force in contemporary music.
A Slightly reworked ‘Get Lucky’ itself comes late in the show to a rapturous reception. Rodger’s makes a good fist of Stevie Ray Vaughans guitar parts in ‘Lets Dance’, with soulful vocals provided by Chic’s newest member, the drummer Biscuit. The show hits its concluding notes with a low key start to the song everybody thinks of when they think Chic, ‘Le Freak’, concluding with a rendition of ‘Good Times’. Indeed it was.
Chic at Iveagh Gardens were photographed for State by Olga Kuzmenko