The legendary disco/R&B icon was added to the bill of San Francisco’s Outside Lands music festival at the last minute when D’Angelo withdrew because of a reported medical issue. And it might have been the best move of the event.
Playing a Friday evening set at the Sutro Stage, Rodgers’ band Chic brought the funk through a seemingly endless catalog of anthems that should be on any party playlist.
With Rodgers front and center between two female vocalists, it was impossible to stand still watching the seriously-tight band, which was all dressed in white.
“Dance, Dance, Dance” was one of the first bangers that Chic dropped, igniting the party as Rodgers and the singers rocked a few choreographed shimmys back and forth across the stage.
With “I Want Your Love,” the bass rumbled so loud, it was like a cattle call across the Golden Gate Park Grounds, something that the two people waving the disco balls attached to poles in the crowd affirmed.
Rodgers allowed himself to get a little nostalgic at one point during the show, noting that San Francisco was the first time Chic had played in front of a group of more than a thousand after the release of their debut album back in 1977.
As he reminisced, Rodgers teased that he was going to play several of his No. 1 hits in a mega-mix, prompting wild cheers. Who knew that he would deliver with smashes from Chic and a few of his other projects.
Rodgers launched into “I’m Coming Out,” which was originally performed by Diana Ross, “Upside Down” and “We Are Family.”
Rodgers left vocal duties up to his drummer with a rousing version of “Let’s Dance,” the title track to the1983 David Bowie album that he produced, causing a near freak-out amongst the assembled masses.
“Its party time, let’s keep it going,” Rodgers said, knowing that he had everyone in the palm of his hand.
The puppeteer continued his manipulation with the mainstay “Le Freak,” complete with perfect fan participation, before closing with “Good Times.” For his finale, several viewers watching from the side of the stage joined Rodgers on stage to boogie.
With a current No. 1 hit to his credit with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Rodgers has demonstrated that he is still the top name in disco-pop. But he didn’t need any robot funk-a-teers to help him on Friday.
Rodgers was certainly piloting the starship himself.