Earth Wind and Fire is “getting ready to get cranked up” for their national summer tour. The iconic soul/pop band has been playing together and making new music for 46 years, making hits like “September” and “Boogie Wonderland” while collaborating with artists like Outkast and LL Cool J and performing for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Before hitting the Township Auditorium on June 5, bassist Verdine White spoke with Go Columbia.
How do you guys mix it up when you start a new tour?
We’ll work on the set list. You’re always getting the kinks out, but we’re looking forward to it.
You have a long discography and have been successful over the years. Have you seen your audience grow and change as time has gone on?
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Most definitely. We have five generations of people who come see us. We’ve watched people come and grow and see us, and we’re very happy about that.
You’re well known for your songs from a few years back, but you’ve also released some newer stuff. What do you like to perform the most?
The big songs: “September,” “Let’s Groove,” “Boogie Wonderland.” The public really loves those songs. But we have great songs from all over the times.
How do you keep it fresh every night? What keeps it fun and keeps it going?
What makes it fresh is that the songs do it by themselves, and the audience is so great that they help keep it fresh for you.
What’s your favorite part of being on tour?
It’s meeting the fans, and the cities because every city is different.
You’ve done some really cool things over the past few years – playing at the White House and doing a lot of interesting collaborations. What has been the highlight of the recent past?
Playing at the White House was a big honor. The Kennedy Center Honors were great. We worked with Outkast, Will.i.am. We did the Super Bowl. We did some really cool things. We’re really happy about it.
What are you looking forward to in the next year?
We’re going to be touring, so that will take up most of the year. If we can get through this tour, which we will, it will be a lot of fun.
How do you guys stay working together so well over so many years?
We love each other. We’re family. The music’s there. We’re very fortunate, and we’re happy we’re still doing it.
What’s new on this tour?
We might put a couple of new songs in there. We’ll see.
If you go: Earth Wind and Fire will play the Township Auditorium on June 5. Tickets are $49.50-$87.50 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.
Amanda C. Coyne