Kool & The Gang with the Utah Symphony July 9th, 2021 Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater
After a full year of no concerts, and no summer activities, it was clear that everyone was itching to get out. What better way than to escape the insane heat of the valley this July. As I drove up to the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, I was immediately aware of the energy the crowd had. Walking up the hill from the parking lot people were carrying coolers, chairs, food, and drinks. They were gearing up for a fun night of music outside and away from their homes.
The audience was filled with couples, families, and friends of all different ages. It was clear to me that this would be a concert that would be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what age. Some concertgoers made a whole night of it by bringing charcuterie boards and wine. The crowd was ready for a fun night full of smooth R&B sounds mixed with the high-energy Jazz that makes up Kool & The Gang’s sound.
Kool & the Gang
Kool & The Gang got their start in 1964 and have explored many different musical styles since. Their discography is full of sounds including Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock, and Pop. Some of the current members include Robert “Kool” Bell as the lead singer, Michael Ray on the jazz trumpet, George Brown on the drums, Jermain Bryson on the trombone, and Kevin Bell playing the guitar. The chemistry of the group was clear from the opening song all the way to the end of the show. The back and forth between the singer, the trumpet player, and the bass was what made this show so great. It helped to hold the attention of the audience. Their natural talent was extremely impressive, they made the improv of Jazz look so easy.
Hearing they were headlining a show with the Utah Symphony made me curious. I was excited to see how their music would come alive and how they would work with the symphony. The Utah Symphony added to the intensity and energy of the music by rounding out Kool & The Gang’s sound. While there were speakers around the venue, you would have still been able to hear the orchestra no matter where you were seated in the amphitheater. Not only was the chemistry within Kool & The Gang there, but also present between Kool & The Gang and the Utah Symphony. The symphony members were wearing classy white tuxes and Kool & The Gang wearing show-stopping outfits making the whole night feel classic.
The energy of the crowd was palpable. You could tell the crowd was excited. They were expectant of the show just based on the pure number of people in the amphitheater. Once the music started, it was hard for many to stay seated. They kicked off the concert with the song “Fresh”. Many concertgoers stood up and started grooving along with the band with smiles on their faces. Once they stood up it was near impossible to stop the movement. Everywhere you looked people were dancing and clapping along with the band.
Deer Valley Music Festival at its Finest
The show got hotter as the band started their hit “Too Hot.” The lead singer Robert “Kool” Bell established a good back and forth with the crowd. Throughout this song, the crowd would repeat “too hot” during the chorus and seemed to have a good time jamming out to the smooth sound of the band and the symphony.
As the night went on and the night got cooler, the band really played to the ladies by singing “Joanna” and “Ladies Night.” During these songs most of the women in the crowd stood up and danced along. It truly was impossible to stay still during the concert, the music made you want to jump and dance along with the band. The later the night got, the darker it got so you could see some cool stage effects throughout the songs, the lights added to the mood of the crowd.
The true showstopper of the night happened with their hit “Hollywood Swingin’” remixed with sounds from the classic hit “Celebration.” As soon as those trumpet notes were heard, anyone left seated obviously had to get up and jam. Kool & The Gang with the Utah Symphony was great at keeping the energy high and making the concert flow seamlessly. Changing from smooth jazz to pop to R&B even within the same song. It was impossible to be bored by the concert or the music.
As the concert ended, the crowd was left excited and happy with the night. It was a perfect summer concert and a perfect lineup for the Deer Valley Music Festival. The outdoor venue was perfect for the big sound that the concert featured. Kool & The Gang with the Utah Symphony was a concert that left you happy and thoroughly entertained. If I ever see them headlining a show in Utah again, count me in.
Review By: Alyssa Abendroth
Photos By: Kathleen Sykesnof Utah Symphony I Utah Opera and Breanna Downs