For many of those only recently acquainted with Nile Rodgers via his collaboration with Daft Punk, the considerable size of his back catalogue will have come as a huge surprise at Bestival. Any sceptics, only aware of one or two hits, were soon proven wrong. The sun was shining and nothing could dampen the spirits of these disco kings and queens as Chic took to the stage.
People danced in sync to some of the old tracks, almost creating a flash mob, the crowd metamorphosing into an irresistible, living, breathing disco creature. The lead vocals of Kimberly Davis were absolutely spectacular and cemented her status as a true diva who reached every note with style, glitz and glamour. Rodgers’ masterful guitar as he moseyed back and forth across the stage oozed pure cool. There was perhaps even a dig at Saturday night’s headliner Snoop Dogg who had covered a medley of other people’s songs as Rodger’s exclaimed “All this s*** you hear…is songs I wrote”. What was most flabbergasting was the sheer diversity of the songs he has written; Rodgers is certain to have expanded his fan base with massive kudos to this legend who has penned Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Like a Virgin by Madonna and even Lady (Hear Me Tonight) by Modjo.
Chic’s own songs are funky and easily recognisable in their own right. The audience received the aural delights of Le Freak and I Want Your Love(1978), blasted from the stage. There was also the wondrous Sister Sledge track We are Family (1979), causing a beautiful moment in the crowd and compounded perfectly by the vivid rainbow that appeared behind the main stage as the band played. After a weekend of tumultuous weather Chic and Nile Rodgers shone brightly.
The set concluded with a recreation of Studio 54 onstage: scores of backing dancers, sound men, and women in glamorous regalia poured on, including a small child in the centre rocking out to Good Times. This familial atmosphere was a perfect ending to the summer and proved that Nile Rodgers appeals to all generations and will continue to do so for years to come.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio