At the Mann Music Center - Philly (8/25/07)



At 8:00pm, old-school Latin-funk band WAR began their set with the moody "The World is a Ghetto", featuring some great sax playing by Fernando Harkless. For the next song, "The Cisco Kid", O.G. WAR member/keyboardist/vocalist Lonnie Jordan had the audience singing the first verse of the song. WAR followed with the funkier "Me and Baby Brother", followed by "Slippin' into Darkness", featuring some of the nastiest lead guitar riffs ever heard from guitarist Stuart Ziff! Next, Lonnie did a little bit of doo-wop piano playing & singing, before going into this insane, off-the-wall piano riffing....what became of this...the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?", a fun sing-along with all the members of WAR taking on lead vocal spotlights during the song. "Low Rider" sounded good, especially since the bass player Pancho Tomaselli started playing the Mandrill song "Hang Loose" on bass during the middle of the song....this is where Lonnie introduced everyone in the band...each musician had a three-minute spotlight to show off their talent:

1.   Saxophonist Fernando Harkless jammed and the band up a good harmowent into a kickin' but short version of Jr. Walker & the Allstars's "Shotgun".

2.   Harmonica player Mitch Kashmar gave nica solo.

3.   Bassist Pancho Tomaselli did a solo that set the Mann Music Center afire with a rendition of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" (but GET THIS.... all the black fans in the audience [over 95% black, mostly middle-aged] WAS JAMMIN' to this just LIT A FIRE under these fans...which I found very interesting, since the song is a rock song!!)

4.   Drummer Sal Rodriguez gave up a great drum solo and the band went into a little bit of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man"

5.   Percussionist Marcos Reyes started playing some congas (after Lonnie teased him about his height & about going to the chapel & going to get married) -- and the band went into a Santana song (don't know which song though).

6.   Guitarist Stuart Ziff gave up red-hot guitar riffs that led to the James Brown/JB's FONKAY cut "Doin' It to Death (Gonna Have a Funky Good Time)"...the fans just ATE IT UP!!

7.   Keyboardist/OG WAR member Lonnie Jordan started his keyboard spot and the band went into the Sly Stone FONKAY cut "I Want to Take You Higher".

After all of that, WAR returned to the song "Low Rider", and after 2 minutes, their set was over at 9:10pm.

At 9:50pm, the members of MANDRILL (Afrocentric/Latin/funk/rock/jazz/airthang-else-good-music old-school band) walked onstage and began the first song....this time, it wasn't the instrumental "Mandrill" (the normal show-opener) was "Hang Loose"...(HMMM, maybe they played "Hang Loose" to let the fans that WAR was playing *THEIR* original song during the "Low Rider" segment.) Marc Rey was electrifying on some wicked lead guitar riffing!!

A POINT TO NOTE: Since Wilson brother Carlos couldn't make the gig, the other Wilson brothers Lou, Dr. Ric and Wilfredo (aka Wolf) decided to play primarily percussion instruments for the Keith Barry (lot of saxophone, flute & violin) and a special guest trombonist & trumpeteer handled a good bit of horns this night.

"Rollin' On" sounded good, but without Carlos in the house, vocally it wasn't the same...but Lou worked his butt off handling Carlos's vocal parts. Because of Carlos's absence, the song "House of Wood" took on a different key (or sound), with Lou doing lead vocals...but, the harmonica part (of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" by Keith at the end was a nice touch. "Mandrill" was the next song, and this song featured a large group of guest percussionist (lot of drums...congas and all that!) that played for maybe 8 to 10 minutes... and the new drummer Stacey Lamont Sydnor worked harder than a one-legged man in a kick fight contest, as he was pounding the hell out of the those drums for his big solo!!! (I still miss former drummer Neftali Santiago, though....apparently, he is no longer with the band) "Suzie Caesar (Can You Get It?)" was a nice surprise to the set was just SO FUNKY and the fans were groovin' to the max on this one! "Cohelo" was amazing, with Keith Barry doing the flute solo, the violin part and some saxophone blowing, too! (Keith is one BAD MOFO!) The Wilson Bros. percussion was good and so were the beautiful vibraphone riffs by Arlan Schierbaum.

The One Sun Lion Ra came out and the show began a hip-hop event, which a lot of fans were not feeling (I could hear groans from some of the fans)...The One Sun (aka Rais Wilson, son of Lou Wilson) performed "Black Woman" and "Keep It Live" (featuring Lou on percussion).

"Mango Meat" was good, but the fans were ON FIRE when Mandrill performed "Fencewalk"......the DANCE FUNK was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The high-energy continued into the last song of the set "Git It All" (which made a lot of ladies "shake some booty"!!!) The encore performance of "Ape is High" featured some great lead guitar funkiness by Marc Rey!! At 11:20pm, it was all over.

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