Before War even played a note during its first of two shows at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre on Friday, original vocalist/keyboardist Lonnie Jordan dedicated the evening first and foremost to the recently departed Prince. He also name checked many more who’ve died as of late, from David Bowie all the way back to Michael Jackson, reinforcing the fact that far too many legends are leaving this world.
Now more than four decades into the groove, War continues to defy boundaries, bring folks together from various walks of life and keep repeat attendees on their toes, which are all factors sure to make Saturday’s stop just as interesting.
Nonetheless, these 50 million album sellers are still going strong since debuting in California circa 1969, and while the members may have changed since being co-billed with Eric Burdon, War continues crafting high quality jams right up through 2014’s studio album “Evolutionary” and performing all the oldies with an improvisational hunger. Moreover, no two shows are ever exactly the same, and though there wasn’t a high quantity of tunes throughout the 105 minute set list, they were all expertly executed as extended editions in this extremely intimate venue.
After launching with a sizzling rendition of the funky “Me And Baby Brother,” War conjured up the reggae-infused soul of “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” which seamlessly blended in bits of former tour mate Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up.” Once the chunky beats of “The Cisco Kid” kicked in, Jordan soon abandoned his post behind the keys to cruise through the crowd, soliciting several audience sing-a-longs along the way.
Though everyone was enthusiastic, no one could actually sing that well, giving the front man some comedic fodder before nimbly bouncing back on stage to finish the favorite and dive straight into the strutting “Spill The Wine.” War also dug beyond the most obvious at times, most notably, “Galaxy” and “Ballero,” which collectively allowed each player the chance to spread out for a solo.
The band also called everyone to unity regardless of cultural differences during “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and further demonstrated its musical diversity with the Latin rocker “Low Rider” (interspersed with a harmonica solo of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Sly & The Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher”). Now more than four decades into the groove, War continues to defy boundaries, bring folks together from various walks of life and keep repeat attendees on their toes, which are all factors sure to make Saturday’s stop just as interesting.
For additional information on War, visit War.com.
Upcoming concert and musical highlights at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre include the return of War (Apr. 23); “My Favorite Things”: A Tribute to Julie Andrews (Apr. 24); Ides Of March featuring Jim Peterik (May 14); “Rent” (May 19-Jul. 3); “Ring Of Fire”: The Music Of Johnny Cash (Jul. 21-Aug. 28) and The Bacon Brothers (Aug. 17-18). For additional details, visit MetropolisArts.com.