I blame it all on my hot pink Kensai coat. I was 16, and thought I had died and gone to heaven when the doorman at Studio 54 pointed over to me, and said “YOU! You can go in!“ It was like being Alice in Wonderland on acid with strobes and disco balls, people dancing, Steve Rubell holding court with all his famous friends, and half naked men dressed as angels descending from the ceiling. I was in disco heaven.
I lived to disco. By day, I was a dorky student from Des Moines, Iowa. By night, I was a glamorous disco queen strutting her stuff. A complete metamorphosis took place as I’d curl my Farrah Fawcett cut locks, squeeze into spandex, and paint my face on, then teeter off on my heels to dance the night away. It felt so good to let the beat take me over, and feel the eyes follow me across the room. Fooling everyone, including myself, into believing I was a woman of the world.
Julie Anne Rhodes at the Hollywood Bowl
Sunday night I found myself in disco heaven again, or rather Disco Fever 3 at the Hollywood Bowl. The Village People, Chic, and Kool & The Gang were on the bill with special appearances from Yvonne Elliman, Thelma Houston, and Maxine Nightingale. In the 26 years I’ve known Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers I had never seen him play live, so I jumped at the invitation, but didn’t realize quite how much fun I was letting myself in for!
As Village people sang and danced to YMCA and Macho Man I realized it was the first time I had ever seen any of the anthems of my youth performed live. Memories continued to flood over me as Chic brought everyone to their feet with classics like I Want Your Love and Le Freak, then launched into a medley of the hits Nile wrote and produced like Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out, and David Bowie’s Lets Dance before closing with Good Times.
I somehow managed to miss Yvonne Elliman and Maxine Nightingale while I was backstage thanking Nile for the tickets and a great show, but I did catch Thelma Houston singing Don’t Leave Me This Way side stage…one of my all time favorite songs! We made it back to our seats just in time for the super tight, Kool & The Gang to bring the house down with mega hits Celebration and Get Down On It.
I’ll leave you with Chic playing We Are Family, the Sister Sledge mega hit written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. If you happen to find yourself wanting to boogie in New York City this coming Monday you can catch both Chic and Kool & The Gang at the We Are Family Foundation’s 7th Annual CelebratioN. Tickets are still available at http://wearefamilyfoundation.org/initiative/save-date-gala-09
Video “Chic & Nile Rodgers at Disco Fever 3 at the Hollywood Bowl courtesy of tricot8″.