REVIEW: Nile Rodgers and CHIC, The Pastures, Alnwick Castle

Nile Rodgers on stage at Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman
Nile Rodgers on stage at Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman

They promised us Good Times and that’s exactly what they delivered.

Nile Rodgers and CHIC put on a blinding show to kick off the Summer House Sounds series of concerts at Alnwick Castle last night.

Crowds get ready to party. Picture by Jane Coltman

Crowds get ready to party. Picture by Jane Coltman

Slick and simply stunning – it was the perfect antidote to a disappointing end to England’s World Cup dream.

Huge crowds sat in the evening sunshine cheering on Southgate’s boys on a big screen set up specially in the Pastures for the semi-final against Croatia.

Once the final whistle had blown, with fans keeping a check on their phones as the extra-time wasn’t screened, the majority of the thousands-strong audience soon forgot about their footie woes and threw themselves into the music.

From the minute the band came on stage, you knew you were in the presence of musical royalty.

Nile Rodgers is a legend – simple as.

His history reads like a personal rock and roll hall of fame. Producer, songwriter, musician, composer, arranger and guitarist, he’s worked with some of the biggest names in music – Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, the list goes on.

He’s the man behind some of the biggest hits of the last four decades.

And they just kept on coming – Everybody Dance; I Want Your Love; Dance Dance Dance; Le Freak; Good Times.

An early medley of classics including I’m Coming Out, We Are Family and Like A Virgin soon had the fans dancing in the aisles - testing the patience of the security crew tasked with keeping everyone in the seating area.

It’s a pity that a dance area wasn’t set aside. You really can’t keep still to music like this.

Whether or not you’re a fan of funk and disco, you couldn’t help but be blown away by the sheer professionalism of the performers on stage.

The six-piece band of bassist, drummer, two on keyboards and two horn players was superb, and vocalists Kimberly Davis and Folami incredible. Kimberly’s vocals in a soulful version of Get Lucky gave me goose bumps.

You could feel the love in the air, even when Nile repeatedly referred to the venue as Newcastle.

He told the crowds: “We’re thrilled to be here. This is awesome. This is exactly the kind of crowd we love, people who want to party, people who want to have a good time.”

And that’s exactly what we did.

The sensational summer of music at the Pastures continues tomorrow night with the return to Alnwick of Sir Tom Jones, supported by Into The Ark. On Saturday, get ready to skank with ska boys Madness, supported by The Lightning Seeds (Three Lions, anyone?). The series comes to a sparkling conclusion on Sunday with Il Divo, featuring special guest Michael Ball.

Tickets for the shows are on sale at www.ticketmaster.co.uk

The Gazette will be at them all. Check back here for pictures and a review after each concert. Click here to see a gallery of pictures from last night’s show.