Charlie Wilson at Shepherd’s Bush O2 Empire
Charlie Wilson drew an eclectic audience to his performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which is no surprise considering his forty-three years of experience on the R&B circuit. Wilson is well known as the former lead singer of The Gap Band, as well as having released no less than six solo albums, and along the way he has collected devout fans of all ages.
Charlie Wilson danced onto the stage, grinning and glittering in a sparkling tuxedo. It quickly became apparent that this would be no mere concert; this would be a production. The performance was high energy from start to finish, with the ensemble rolling effortlessly through over forty years of Wilson’s discography. His strong, loud vocals impressed throughout the setlist, which proved distinctly reminiscent of hits of the 80s and 90s eras. Most of these numbers were accompanied by impressive choreography performed by the entire ensemble.
Thrilling as the theatrics were, perhaps the greatest response from the audience came in-between livelier dance sequences, when Charlie simply sat, sang and showcased the talent his fans had come for. During I Wanna Be Your Man, the majority of the crowd was on their feet and dancing. His rendition of the publicly acclaimed You Are saw audience members swaying in unison, and waving lit-up mobile phones above their heads. By the end of the night, his fans were unwilling to let him go and Charlie was called back to encore with chants of “Ole! Ole ole ole! Char-lie! Char-lie!”
Charlie Wilson offers an experience rather than just a show. He is, to paraphrase his own words, an “old-school” performer. While the nostalgic quality of Wilson’s music might be lost on modern R&B fans, lovers of old school R&B, Funk and theatricality will find themselves entranced.
Photos: Steve Taylor
For further information and future events visit Charlie Wilson’s website here.
Watch the video for My Love Is All I Have here.