Sorry. I underestimated LA traffic. An hour from Costa Mesa on a Sunday afternoon is definitely not enough time to get to the Greek Theatre. This being said, I missed a few acts for the 70’s Soul Jam on July 14th, 2013. But, in the almost two hours it took to get there, I must’ve been going 88 miles per hour because I was transported to a time where music was about love and not money.
Thanks to the help of our event coordinator, Annisha, I was ushered in near the end of Peaches & Herb. For those who don’t know, the role of “Peaches” has now been rotated throughout the years between six women, so I’m not aware of who performed with Herb Fame, but she filled the role perfectly as they closed with Reunited.
The emcee of the night was Cuba Gooding Sr. If you’re not aware of Oscar-winning “show me the money” Cuba Gooding Jr., then the host’s name will mean nothing to you. But, doubling as host and performer, the father of Rod Tidwell joined his group The Main Ingredient for a lively set. Pointing out his other son, Tommy, on the bass, the band launched into Rolling Down A Mountainside. Hey, remember that show Smart Guy with Taj Mowry? Well, Mo Tibbs aka Omar Gooding (another son) was rolling down the aisles around this time and it was amusing to watch women flock for pictures with a celebrity. Closing with I’m So Proud, The Main Ingredient spoke of how Curtis Mayfield inspired them to make this song.
Bloodstone took the stage next with Outside Woman in their white suits to the cheers of the audience. Unfortunately, Charles Love was sick, so there was a different backup singer to accompany the group. Breezing through classics like Natural High, I felt an appreciation to my parents for raising me on soul music as a child. It takes me back to a time of love and my parents meeting and….ok never mind.
Check out those shirts. Who needs a disco ball? Rose Royce took the stage with her classic Ooh Boy I Love You So which got the crowd to rise to their feet in joy. Wishing On A Star followed, which led into I Wanna Get Next To You, as you realize how many of her songs we recognize as 80’s babies. Ending with the infamous Car Wash, the audience clapped until they had to leave the stage.
I couldn’t get over the acoustics of The Greek Theatre. A time machine of an amphitheater that had my neighboring ticket holder claiming that this was the song he lost his virginity to. Scattered within the venue were dancers boogieing to funky soul as if they were still 18 at the roller rink. Being amidst this atmosphere as a late 20 year old is impressive if you realize the history behind this music and how all ages can appreciate its value and beauty. This is music that has transcended trends and generations over multiple decades.
The headliner had arrived. From 9:30 to 10:30, The Stylistics grooved us through jams such as Children Of The Night, You’ll Never Get To Heaven, and my favorite, You Are Everything. You Are Everything is basically the original version of Usher’s You Remind Me and was the song I would play on repeat as a child on my dad’s turntables. Something about the falsetto of the voices and the “side to side, snap” beat just gave me comfort.
We have been bombarded with genres of music that are hybrids of cross-sampling and referencing from past songs. If you don’t recognize where we have derived the sounds of today from, you should probably do some research. Soul samples are used in every day hip-hop, but misconstrued to promote the transient value of money and not the comforting ideals of universal love. Hopefully, we can pass on classics like the ones above, like my parents did for me, to make sure the message isn’t lost in translation.