Keep It Comin', Love!

Don’t stop it now, don’t stop it, no…

Yes, I’m going to Biltmore Saturday evening to see KC & The Sunshine Band. As an added bonus, The Village People are opening for them. I’ve never seen either group in person, even though they’ve been performing for more than 30 years.

The estate is a great place to see concerts: you park, catch a shuttle up to the house, and enjoy an open-air concert with 3,000 or so of your closest friends, instead of 20,000 and more in some of the bigger stadium shows. I saw Simon & Garfunkel at Georgia Tech Stadium in 1983, and one of the radio announcers suggested there were approximately 60,000 fans there that night. It was definitely a lot of people–too many for comfort–and quite a number of them hopped up on whatever kind of nostalgia they remembered from S&G’s “salad days” in the 60’s and 70’s.

But I digress. The first time I heard Harry Wayne Casey (a.k.a. “KC”) singing his repetitive-but-infectious lyrics, I was hooked. Completely in love with the flashy disco-ness of it all: the funky horns, sparkly costumes, happy people. Keep It Comin’, Love; I’m Your Boogie Man; Shake Your Booty; Boogie Shoes–it doesn’t get much better than that!

My fourth grade teacher had us do creative writing once a week–we could write a page or so about anything, and it didn’t have to be related to spelling or social studies or whatever we were learning at the moment. (Bless you, Sandra Albarty, in your turquoise-colored corduroy gaucho suit; you were a great inspiration to me!) I remember one particular triumph of creativity in which I wrote about singing (and dancing!) on stage with KC & The Sunshine Band at the Carowinds Paladium (the pinnacle of coolness–to perform in an amusement park). He would wear purple, I would wear pink; we would be completely happy together.  In later years, I’ve often wondered what Ms. Albarty made of that particular piece of painfully purple prose…

As for The Village People, I was introduced to them at my sister’s class play the year I was in 5th grade and she was in 8th. Her class performed a timeless tale of Santa’s stubborn refusal to keep Christmas because he was tired and didn’t think anybody cared. My sister–in her role as Santa’s head elf–had to encourage him to see the good in the world. Grumpy old Santa allowed himself to be transported to Studio 54 via the rest of the class lip-synching to Chic’s Le Freak. After Santa got his mind wrapped around that experience, the group went on to a rousing version of YMCA to help cheer the jolly old fellow a little more.

My mother and I were watching this spectacle from the darkened seats in the gymnatorium (honestly–I’m not making this up–the structure multi-tasked as both our elementary school gym and auditorium). She leaned over and whispered, “I bet I know what the name of that song is.”

So, although I’m looking forward to both groups tomorrow night, there’s a little part of me that feels about 10 years old when I think of them. I doubt that KC will ask me to join him on stage, and I don’t think The Village People want me to crash their room at the aforementioned YMCA, but there’s *something* about the music you knew and loved when you were a kid that makes you want to sing it out loud, disco or otherwise.

Here’s to you, Harry Wayne Casey, with your three names like a serial killer or a presidential assassin. And here’s to you, Policeman, Construction Guy, Biker Dude, Cowboy, and Indian Chief–still rocking the house (and America’s largest house, at that!) after all these years!

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