There are certain artists who have the legacy and coolness to bridge generational gaps. Charlie Wilson stands as an R&B/soul icon who can evoke a sense of nostalgia in baby boomers and also start a party in a room full of millennials.
On Feb. 21, Wilson’s Forever Charlie tour made its way to Philips Arena in Atlanta. A sold-out show led to traffic-clogged streets surrounding the arena hours before Wilson took the stage.
Before Wilson’s performance, Kem and Joe set the mood for a great night of R&B music. But it was Wilson who took the crowd’s energy to another level once he finally made his way to the stage.
To understand the genius of Wilson is to know that fans often see him as two artists. Charlie Wilson is the guy who made dozens of hits as the lead singer of the Gap Band. Uncle Charlie is the gentlemen who is cool enough to make hits for hip-hop artists such as Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Pharrell. On this night, fans were able to get a hefty dose of both.
Charlie Wilson ran threw a slew of hits from his days with the Gap Band. “Outstanding” was clearly a fan favorite.
But Uncle Charlie showed up in time to share songs from his critically acclaimed new album, Forever Charlie. The song “Goodnight Kisses” sums up his renaissance. Uncle Charlie proved that he can touch on hip-hop without it being forced; he can give that old-school R&B feeling without it sounding outdated; and he can deliver an overall great show in an era where showmanship is often neglected.
The crowd at Philips Arena had the feel of a wintertime family reunion. The young mingled with the old as Charlie Wilson and Uncle Charlie serenaded the crowd on life, love and having a good time. A national treasure gave the concert of a lifetime while showing the new school exactly how it’s done.