CONCERT REVIEW Give me the funk: War kicks off concert series at the Hatch Shell

103.3 WODS’s Free Summer Concert Series at the Hatch Shell features iconic oldies

War Concert

Boston Hatch Shell

103.3 WODS’s Free Summer Concert

With bubbles floating through the air and peace signs diffusing through the crowd at a rate that would have impressed even Robert Brown, the flower children of Boston made a comeback at the first of 103.3 WODS’s Free Summer Concert Series on June 19, featuring the wildly popular 70’s funk band, War.

War is best known for their hits “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and “Low Rider,” which are frequently used in Hollywood films, and most recently has been used in beginning credits of the comedy sitcom “George Lopez.”

The roughly two-hour concert was held at the Boston Hatch Shell, and the show began at 7 p.m.—just as the hot summer sun came to rest over the Charles, filling the sky with psychedelic shades of hot pink, burnt amber, and indigo.

Admission was free, and a good view was available to anyone who was willing to bring a blanket and claim a place on the lawn, about an hour before the concert was scheduled to begin.

The crowd was admittedly 40 and over, however, the lawn was sprinkled with families and hipster-esque college students, hoping for a night of free entertainment. Tie-dyed shirts, bell-bottomed jeans, American flag head bands, and crisp white daisies appeared to be the unspoken dress code for the majority of the crowd, but 10 minutes or so into the concert, everyone in the crowd—regardless of age or fashion sense—was tapping their feet, shaking their hips, and bouncing beach balls to the next blanket over.

The music was somewhat slow to begin, but once lead singer Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan opened the night with “Give Up the Funk,” the energy of the crowd ignited, as dozens of fans stood up to display signs and dance. The lead saxophonist kept the energy of the crowd alive, with his soulful solos, which were enough reason to make the trip to the show, even before the top hits made it through the queue. The funky hippie outfits of the band, bright lights of the Hatch Shell, the neon-sticker embellished keyboard appearing center stage, and energy of the crowd were all added bonuses to the beautiful Boston weather and good old-fashioned funk floating through the park.

As expected, the crowd went wild for the well-known hit “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and nearly everyone was dancing on their feet for the bongo-ridden song of the night, “Low Rider.” In return for the free concert, all that the band asked from the crowd was a little “L-U-B-B” (love) in return.

The local radio station is hosting two more similar free concerts over the summer, with the upcoming concert featuring the 80’s legend Eddie Money (singer of the hits “Take Me Home Tonight” and “Baby Hold On”) on July 17. It’s the perfect musical addition to a picnic with friends or an outing with family (especially your parents—imagine getting to see Lady Gaga or John Mayer, these oldie’s likely feature equivalents, for free 60 years down the road).

The music may not be the best of modern music, but bring a bottle of sparkling fruit juice, a baguette and cheese, a blanket for the lawn, and some good company to take an enjoyable walk through the history of American pop. And did I mention it’s free?

For a complete posting of 103.3 WODS’s Free Summer Concert Series, visit: