LIVE: Charlie Wilson @ the Times Union Center, 6/5/15
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
“Uncle Charlie,” the affectionate name for one of the living legends of the the R&B, soul and funk idioms, closed a triple-bill at Albany’s Times Union Center on a recent Friday night, shaking the building to its foundation and pumping out the grooves with a spectacular light show, super-tight band and amazing dancers with his own charismatic self in the forefront singing his heart and soul out on every song by blending a little “old school” with new tunes representing the “now.”
Charlie Wilson is a certified living legend, among the best-of-the-best of his generation from the days he founded and vocally propelled the Gap Band into the spotlight and stardom with hit singles, Grammy nominations, prestigious awards and worldwide adulation to today where he is revered as a producer and a creative force in the contemporary music world.
His peers include George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic & P-Funk All Stars), James “J.T.” Taylor (Kool & the Gang) and the late, great, Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner (Ohio Players), but among them, he’s at the top of the heap, seemingly defying time.
His performance in Albany was certainly no mere nostalgia tour. Wilson is still at the top of his game, and he worked up a sweat as he danced around the stage and pulled from deep inside to impart the emotional intensity of every song he sang. It doesn’t get better than that for those who appreciate the real thing and not what the record labels and promotional people put out now.
Charlie Wilson’s visit to the Local 518 was a grand spectacle of the best kind. He is a consummate performer who always gives it his all and never disappoints an audience. Opening acts Kem and Joe were good in their own right, but Charlie Wilson remains the grandmaster.