Let The Sunshine In! KC & the Sunshine Band, Jody Watley delight concertgoers at the Mountain Winery

Let The Sunshine In!  KC & the Sunshine Band, Jody Watley delight concertgoers at the Mountain Winery Photo by Larry Marano

by Michael P. Coleman

With a bill like this, a disco ball couldnt have been far from the Mountain Winery Saturday night.

Jody Watley got the party started at 7:30pm with a sampling of some of the best of Shalamars catalog.  Watleys reconstituted incarnation of the group she referred to them as Shalamar Reloaded” — brought back all of the memories.  While filling the shoes of legacy members Howard Hewitt and Jeffrey Daniels is a daunting task, new group members Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy are more than capable of carrying on the groups legacy. 

watleyAs for Watley, she was flawless.  She hit every note on hits like Make That Move, Dead Giveaway, and A Night To Remember, and she let the capacity crowd know that the songs were in their original keys, “…recorded when I was 19, she laughed.  Another highlight of this first set was a completely reimagined Full Of Firefrom Shalamars superb 1979 Three For Love album.  Watley should strongly consider recording this version, which she later told me that fans really connect withwhen the group performs it live.  

The divas second set was devoted to her solo hits, but not before she donned her iconic silver hoop earrings as she launched into her first solo smash Looking For A New Love.  Watley has lost none of her vocal range or ability to engage her fans, even gliding out into the audience, a la Diana Ross, during the show.  "Dont You Want Me, also from Watleys eponymous solo debut album, along with Friends, Real Love, and a stunning version of Everythingfollowed.  After proving she could still bring it vocally, Watley announced And I can dance in eight inch heels!

Speaking of dancing, Watley set things up quite well for an incredibly spry KC and his Sunshine Band.  The disco ball that was conspicuously absent from Watleys performance descended just before 9pm, and within minutes the Mountain Winery was practically transformed into Studio 54 circa 1978. The band kicked things off with their hits Get Down Tonightand Boogie Shoesbefore KC announced Im 64 years old.  What the hell happened?to riotous applause.  He followed with more self deprecating humor:  I quit smoking and as you can see, Ive gained some weight.  Im working with a nutritionist to help me take care of things.  If I dont do something, Ill have to rename the band KFC & the Sunshine Band!” 

The audience couldnt have cared less about the extra pounds, and they clearly didnt keep KC & the Sunshine Band from rocking the house with more of their own smashes, including Im Your Boogie Man, Give It Up, Thats The Way I Like It, and Get Down Tonight.  He also treated the audience to a couple of selections from his excellent new 60s covers album Feeling You!  The 60s, including a fantastic reimagined version of Ben E. Kings Stand By Me

KC proved that he is one white boy who can play and sing that funky music, effortlessly covering The Commodores’ “Brick House, The Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body Down To The Ground, and Sam Cookes Bring It On Home To Me.  He also treated the crowd to the first smash he wrote, George McCraes 1974 dance classic Rock Your Baby.

As for KC's dancing, I hope Im half as energetic at 64.  Hell, I had trouble keeping up with him from my seat in the audience! 

Hopefully, the Mountain Winery will present more of these kinds of shows during upcoming seasons.  KC & the Sunshine Band along with Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded provided a great night of dancing, singing and reminiscing under the stars. 


Photo of Jody Watley by Michael P. Coleman.


Check out The Hubs EXCLUSIVE interview with KC! 


Michael P. Coleman is a Sacramento-based freelance writer, and he stands-in for KC as your Boogie Man. Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com, via email at mikelsmindseye@me.com, or on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.