May 24, 2014
Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

Review & Photos by Junkman

"Hot Fun In The Summertime" or "It's Summer," perhaps. Yeah, I know, that technically it is still Spring, but here in Los Angeles, the weather is usually the same at this time of year. Just plain nice. And what a nice evening and setting it was for some "old school" music and comedy featuring three of my favorite acts of the funky 70s era, at the always comfy confides of the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

Sponsored in part by radio station Hot 92.3, things got off to a fun start with The Family Stone — basically a group made up of some members of Sly and the Family Stone, sans Sly. Lots of sing-along's in their brief set. And it was great to see original member, trumpeter, and vocalist Cynthia Robinson as part of the band, as they kept everyone's toes tapping with "Thank You (Fa Lettin' Me be Mice Elf Agin),” "Hot Fun In The Summertime," "Dance To The Music" and "I Want To Take You Higher." which brought out a whole new meaning of it's own.

Clouds of "natures herb" were everywhere and I prepared myself for the inevitable "contact high," which happens at lots of outdoor concerts. But with the next act, you just KNOW that its going to happen. I think outside of a Grateful Dead concert, this is the one act that would unite most pot smokers, from all ages and all walks of life.

I'm talking of course, about the legendary comedy duo of Cheech and Chong. Now reunited after many years apart, they were proceeded onstage by Tommy Chong's lovely wife Shelby Chong, who did a few minutes of standup comedy, mostly focusing on her 30 year marriage to Tommy, and his outrageous bust and nine-month jail sentence for the lowly crime of selling a bong online.

She then brought out Cheech and Chong, looking older, but still with the twinkle in their eyes (or were they just stoned?) of two friends that love to make people laugh. Seated on stools, center stage, with the attractive Shelby between them, acting as an interviewer, they talked and answered various questions about how they met, how they broke up, how they got together, and the various success they have experienced solo and shared between them. Again, two old friends that still can make you laugh, and love doing it.

"Remember, Cheech like peach, and Chong like bong," Chong explained.

They then left the stage and out came WAR, who had their own hit parade happening for the mellowed out crowd. Classics like "Slippin' Into Darkness," "The World Is A Ghetto," and "Me And Baby Brother" got everyone singing and dancing in the aisles. During "Cisco Kid," WAR singer LeRoy "Lonnie" Jordan walked through the crowd with his microphone, letting fans sing the chorus. Even though they were completely out of tune, he grinned and everyone enjoyed themselves, adding to the party atmosphere.

The band then took a break, and Cheech And Chong came back onstage to perform a few of their classic routines, like "Dave's Not Here,""Driving With Pedro And Man" ( the Up In Smoke movie version..) "Santa Claus And His Old Lady,""Blind Melon Chitlin" and, of course, Cheech as rock star Alice Bowie sporting a tutu and Mickey Mouse ears for a rockin' version of "Earache My Eye," eliciting roars of laughter from the medicated crowd, including myself, now sporting the buzz that I knew was coming.

I have been a fan of Cheech and Chong since I was a kid. Back in the mid 70s, I memorized everything that they ever did, word for word. It drove my teachers and classmates crazy as I recited their routines over and over. Looking around, and seeing the joy on the peoples’ faces as they did their routines, I knew I was among friends and fans alike. A really good feeling to have. And it wasn't just because of the weed.

The good feeling continued, as WAR came back on stage and continued to rock, new songs and old. the Chicano anthem "Low Rider" had the whole place dancing as WAR brought out the "Old School" en masse. Cheech and Chong then joined them for a great ending of "Mexican Americans/Beaners" from the hit movie Up In Smoke, and Cheech serenaded the crowd with his 80s hit "Born In East LA."

A fun time was had by all, and as the crowd headed towards the parking lot, they each looked like the huge smiling face on the cover of the classic WAR album Why Can't We Be Friends (its famous title track was played and sang by all as a finale). Just a good time for all attending, stoned or not. Cheech and Chong mentioned that there will be a new C&C movie coming out, and WAR will continue to record new music as well. And The party continues as well...

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