The following concert review was published in The Press of Atlantic City on May 25, 1998.

The R & B band Chic, featuring Nile Rodgers, transformed the usually staid Grand Cayman Ballroom into a disco inferno Saturday evening at Trump Marina Hotel Casino.

Several rows of tables were removed from the front of the stage, and a wooden dance floor was installed. Dancers filled the allotted space and spilled over onto the carpet by the time Chic launched into its second song, "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)." The dancers didn't stop moving until the show was over.

Chic's sophisticated, joyous R & B was one of the reasons that people were dancing during the 1970s disco era.

Guitarist Rodgers, the co-founder, leader and only original member, recreates his group's classic sound with a nine-piece band. Two keyboardists reproduce the string arrangements of the original records. They're joined by a bassist, percussionist, trumpeter, saxophonist and two female vocalists. Omar Hakim, formerly of the jazz group Weather Report, supplies the danceable beat and holds the band together with his steady rhythms.

It's rare during the 1990s to be able to dance to a live R & B ensemble without a preponderance of synthesizers propelling the groove.

Chic played its first concert ever in 1977 at the now defunct Casanova's Ristorante in this resort town, Rodgers said from the stage. Chic made its Atlantic City casino debut Saturday.

All of Chic's top-40 pop hits were played in front of a less than sold out, but enthusiastic crowd. Rodgers is known as much for his writing and producing as he is for Chic, so he was smart to add songs he had written for others to the concert.

Chic's version of Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out" caused more people to run to the dance floor. Kathy Sledge of the group Sister Sledge sang lead on two songs, "He's the Greatest Dancer" and "We Are Family, " that Rodgers wrote for her group. Chic's two female vocalists joined her on the choruses. Their voices were just as good as the four Sister Sledge siblings.

The band didn't just duplicate the records. The musicians jammed during the instrumental passages of "We Are Family" and other songs. The group members were introduced during the tune "Chic Cheer, " and each of them was given a chance to perform solo.

Chic saved its only two No. 1 pop hits for last.

"Le Freak" was the last song of the main set. The central bass riff of the encore song, "Good Times, " was used by the Sugarhill Gang for the first hit rap single, "Rapper's Delight." Rodgers acknowledged that fact by rapping a few verses of the song.

The nine-song, 80-minute concert could have featured more material. Chic could have beefed up its one-show - an 8 p.m. performance - with another tune written by Rodgers for Ross, "Upside Down." The band also could have whipped out two more of its singles, "My Feet Keep Dancing" and "My Forbidden Lover."

Chic's Marina performance was only its second U.S. gig since the early 1980s. Hopefully, they will play live more often in the U.S. and give more people the chance to hear what their material sounds like in concert.

Contact: 609-272-7202


Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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