By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night
Venue: Coachman Park, Clearwater, Florida–October 18, 2018–Day One of the Festival (October 18–22, 2018)
Day Two of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday brought menacing black clouds in the evening as it rained in Tampa, but luckily, only drizzled at Coachman Park. The weather certainly didn’t deter the crowd because it was jam packed on Friday evening.
When I arrived, Sheila E was already on stage with a large entourage of musicians, whopping it up! The set started with a funky version of the National Anthem (I’d rather hear this at sporting events) and then melded into infectious Latin beats, which had everybody in “full party mode”. Sheila E was dressed in a very colorful caftan and sporting long black locks, almost looking like Rita Coolidge. She stood behind her drum kit, danced and whaled on the drum heads, with great force, as the music played. She traded places now and then, by singing into the microphone or dancing at the foot of the stage. All of the musicians were constantly dancing, and moving with the beat, making the stage look like one big Afro-Caribbean party! The audience totally lapped it up as they danced, waved light sticks, and moved to the beat.
I cannot describe in words the feeling of Sheila E’s performance. It was electrifying to the max! She beckoned the people from the audience to join her on stage, and many volunteered, as they moved up the stairs, dancing and booty shaking all the way. Sheila E doesn’t just perform, she entertained the audience all evening, and encouraged audience participation throughout. During her set, she beckoned to have the audience in the spotlight, as they were very much a part of the show. She even grabbed a white electric guitar and moved down into the audience, while playing. There was showmanship and pageantry as the band played “The Saints Go Marching In”.
A very touching part of the set was when she played a medley of Prince songs. I noticed on the inside of her left arm was the Prince symbol he often used. She even played one of my favorites “Erotic City” which is the ultimate funky dance song.
Let’s not forget she played her hits “A Love Bizarre” and ended with her trademark “The Glamorous Life”.
I have to say, I had never seen Sheila E in concert before—and this set will not be forgotten by many. I will definitely make it a point to seek her out in the future. It was extremely entertaining and as one photographer noted, “She came out of the gates” in high mode.
Next up, with the ever elegant and funky Morris Day. He came out on the stage looking quite debonair and even one of his band members did a little skit with a mirror. The music was fun, funky, and continued the evening in “party mode.”
Kudos to the festival committee which choose a great doubleheader for the evening!