Review by Jasmine Storm with photos by Victor Frankowski

Meltdown is the longest running artist-curated music festival in the world. This year is it curated by the legend that is Nile Rodgers. I don’t use the word ‘Legend’ frivolously – he is a three-time Grammy award winner as well as recently been inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. There is no doubt that Nile Rodgers is truly exceptional. But more important that any of that – this man knows how to throw a party! Nile Rodgers & CHIC are opening the festival to a sold-out audience and a good time is guaranteed.

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Nile came on to ‘chat’ with the audience. He called us family. He feels genuine and authentic and we believe him. We are family. Chatting to the audience broke down barriers and had us laughing along with him. He told wonderful stories and we listened to his every word. It’s well known that Nile and David Bowie worked together, but Nile was giving us a treat. We heard a rare demo of Let’s Dance with David’s voice at the beginning and end. Nile said that he knew David was a big Jazz fan so he used Jazz language to explain that this folk song David had given him needed an ‘arrangement’. And sure enough without Nile, Let’s Dance would not have been the big hit that Bowie needed. Many people are often critical over Bowie’s eighties period but David was desperate for a hit. He asked Nile to write him that hit and Nile delivered way above any expectations. Nile is humble and says that thanks to David, he went on to produce Madonna, Michael Jackson and Duran Duran. Nile told us about how he told Frank Sinatra that he was the number one producer in the world. Sinatra thought it was his producer, Quincey Jones (who produced many of Sinatra’s music), but Nile put him right. Nile then went on to take questions from the audience. We could ask anything. He told us how Miles Davis always said to him, ‘Nile, I want to write me a Mother F**kin Good Times’. Nile never did but if he could have his time again – he said this is what he would do. This was a joyous moment and the audience laughed with Nile at his stories. I could have listened to these wonderful memories forever, but we were there to party. Nile went off for a short intermission but the party was just starting with a Chic mixed tape of classic songs to dance to. By the time Chic got on stage in this beautiful seated theatre; before they had played one note, the audience was on its feet and stayed standing for the whole night. People clearly adore Chic and were dancing in the aisles, myself included.

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Everybody Dance was the opening number and everybody was dancing and didn’t stop dancing all night. The set list was a fantastic selection of artists that Nile has worked with over the years but also included all of Chic’s hits and their most recent offering, I’ll be there, which is a fantastic disco number that wouldn’t be out of place at Studio 54. The band played songs from Chic, Sister Sledge, Duran Duran, Diana Ross and David Bowie. Nile told us a story about Madonna. He said her first single from the album should be Material Girl then everyone would call her a Material Girl. She said no. He said she used more profanity but he was being polite. She said it has to be Like A Virgin. And so, it came to pass. But Nile said that tonight at Meltdown, it was his night so he was going to play both!

Both girls in Chic have amazing voices and can not only perform Chic to perfection but can carry off the likes of Diana Ross without missing a beat. The whole band were consummate professionals and gave such a wonderful sound. But there is no denying the legend that is Mr Nile Rodgers. His guitar playing, his charisma, his ability to hold the audience in the palm of his hand – this is why he is a legend. The man has so much talent. He told us a story about how Prince stopped his show to acknowledge Nile and his genius. If it’s good enough for Prince, it’s certainly good enough for Meltdown!

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It was an electrifying atmosphere and felt like the party of a lifetime. The audience was strutting their stuff and the musicians, singers and Nile were all having a blast. Nile Rodgers and Chic know how to have a good time.

Set List
Everybody Dance
Dance Dance Dance
I Want Your Love
I’m Coming Out (Diana Ross Cover)
Upside Down ( Diana Ross Cover)
Like A Virgin (Madonna Cover)
Material Girl (Madonna Cover)
He’s The Greatest Dancer (Sister Sledge Cover)
We Are Family (Sister Sledge Cover)
I’ll Be There
Lady (Here Me Tonight) (Modjo Cover)
Get Lucky (Daft Punk Cover)
Notorious (Duran Duran Cover)
Le Freak
Good Times/ Rapper’s Delight
Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover)

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One Response to “Nile Rodgers & CHIC at Royal Festival Hall, London, UK – 3rd August 2019”

  1. Gaynor Lawrence Says:

    Hi
    Great review and photos
    I was in the silver dress next to Kimberly on the left of the photo. I was wondering if there was any of me as it really was a once in a lifetime experience being up there on stage with Nile
    Thanks in advance
    Gaynor

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