Review: The Hollywood Bowl Gets Down to Kool & the Gang, Morris Day & the Time and the Village People

It's rare to see a band keep their mojo as well as Kool & the Gang have.

It's rare to see a band keep their mojo as well as Kool & the Gang have.

Hollywood was swingin’ last night at the Hollywood Bowl. With a funky line up of the Village People, Morris Day & the Time, and the legendary Kool & the Gang, the whole Bowl was getting down.

The Village People kicked us off with a very short but climactic four-song set. The aged but still macho-looking Village People kicked started things with “Macho Man.” In all the years I’ve covered shows at the Hollywood Bowl, I have never seen the entire Bowl up and dancing on the very first song of the evening. From there, they took us to “San Francisco,” a city known for its freedom. And of course that song had to be followed by a tribute to those who fought for our freedom “In the Navy.”

You know the Village People can’t end their set without doing “YMCA.” But before that, they had to give a proper tutorial on how to do the YMCA the right way. The “M” seems to be the common mistake people make after a backwards “C,” of course. As the song went on, I looked around and almost every single person in the Hollywood Bowl was doing the YMCA. It was the most beautiful way to see the Village People.

Morris Day & the Time took the stage not even 10 minutes after the Village People ended their set. Morris Day kicked off his set with a clip from Purple Rain, which the group was featured in. Morris Day’s set was funk-filled and the true definition of class. Day was followed around by a mirror for a good portion of his set. He also had a coat put on his shoulders about half way through their set. If that is not class, then I don’t know what is.

Morris also brought out son Derran Day to join him on stage for a song, followed by a social media plug. After a funky set, the band was ready for their encore, and of course, they saved “Jungle Love” for that encore. Even the folks in the crowd who seemed unfamiliar with Morris Day & the Time knew “Jungle Love.”

Kool & the Gang took the stage after about a 30-minute intermission. This was my second time seeing this 15-piece band at the Bowl, and it was just as enjoyable as the first time. The band consists of new and old members, but the songs still sound the way they do when they were first produced. It’s rare to see a band keep their mojo after all these years and new members.

The Gang played all their hits, from “Celebration” to “Ladies Night” to “Hollywood Swinging.” Not a single person was seated for the duration of their set. It was pretty incredible.

Taylor Wong is a Staff Photographer and Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering arts and entertainment.

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