Review: Kool and the Gang, Newmarket Racecourse, Friday, July 20

IT was certainly decidedly chilly on the racecourse on Friday night but the warmth on stage from Kool and the Gang helped to lift spirits and put the thousands watching in a real party mood.

The 10-piece outfit certainly know how to make their fans swing and sway with

their mix of jazz, rhythm and blues, funk and pop material and had their thousands of admirers dancing away on the soggy grass and in the racetrack’s stands and their opening number, Fresh, couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Yes, it was not one of those balmy warm July nights we had hoped for instead a constant drizzle and overcast sky bought a kind of gloom over the course.

But that soon disappeared as Kool and his band launched into a series of well know hits that had the adoring fans singing and party-ing along with them.


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They have certainly stood the test of time since they were formed back in 1964 and bass player Robert “Kool” Bell still knows how to slap out a mean rhythm.

Many of the members of the band are not in the heyday of their youth but their energy and enthusiasm is contagious.

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And they are on a punishing tour which began back in January in the United States and is taking in Europe and the Middle East. They were due in France on Saturday, Germany on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, before they head back to England to play in Dorset next weekend.

You can’t help but admire their stamina as they all took turns to strutt their stuff on stage and show off their gyrating hips.

Their appearance at Glastonbury last year is still remembered fondly by those who saw them at the festival and from the word go they managed to have the fans at Newmarket in the palm of their hands.

They rattled out their big hits which bought a series of cheers and applause and included Emergency, Joanna, Too Hot, Hollywood Swinging, Jungle Boogie, Cherish, Let’s Go Dancing (Ooh, La, La, La), Ladies Night and Get Down On It.

And to round off the evening they aptly ended with probably their best known hit .... Celebrate.

Another fantastic Adnams Newmarket Nights which began on June 22 with Madness and continues on August 3 with Van Morrison; Tom Jones, August 10; Jessie J, August 17; and Summer Saturday Live with Steps, on August 25.

RUSSELL COOK

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