Disco legend brings A-grade showmanship to Sydney

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Nile Rodgers and Chic
Enmore Theatre, October 23

Opening a show with your biggest hit might indicate the artist has either misplaced confidence that they’ll be able to top it later, or they’re accidentally playing the setlist backwards.

Nile Rodgers and his band keep the energy going for the full 90 minutes.Credit: Rhett Wyman

Not so for guitarist, producer and composer Nile Rodgers. Rodgers has written, performed and produced such a vast number of hits that kicking off with Chic’s 1978 disco smash Le Freak is in no way a risky gambit.

It starts the first of two Sydney shows with the kind of high energy typically reserved for a killer encore. Remarkably, that energy is maintained over the next 90-plus minutes.

The dapper Rodgers, gobsmackingly great vocalists Kimberly Davis and Audrey Martells and a crack team of six musicians serve up a slew of Chic classics to keep the crowd dancing, including I Want Your Love, Everybody Dance and Chic Cheer.

With excitement through the roof during the first 20 minutes, peaking too early seemed a possibility, until Rodgers starts dishing out the jaw-dropping tunes he’s had a hand in creating for other artists.

Nile Rodgers is a charming and good-humoured presence throughout,Credit: Rhett Wyman

The decades-spanning selection includes Upside Down and I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross, Like a Virgin and Material Girl by Madonna, We Are Family and He’s the Greatest Dancer by Sister Sledge, Beyonce’s Cuff It and Get Lucky by Daft Punk, the latter sending the crowd into raptures.

Rodgers is a charming and good-humoured presence throughout, and when he rattles off a list of considerable accolades between songs, including a recent Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, it seems less like bragging and more like justifiably stating the facts.

The execution of the show is masterful: with pacing, setlist and the obligatory calls for audience participation all expertly delivered in a display of A-grade showmanship.

By the time David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Chic’s Good Times show up, the latter morphing into the Sugarhill Gang classic Rapper’s Delight, the audience has been whipped up into a state of euphoria, rewarding a visibly moved Rodgers with a well-earned barrage of applause.

Good times? For an artist who can translate his iconic discography into a dance party this joyous, that’s a massive understatement.

Nile Rodgers and Chic play the Enmore Theatre on October 25

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