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  • Writer's pictureMartin van Zeelandt / TCD

Bedford Summer Sessions 2024 - Nile Rodgers & Chic (07/07/2024)


So this happened. Last Sunday, there was a gig at Bedford Park, and it had a few acts you might know. And as we only moved to Bedford less than 2 years ago, we are still finding things to do, to discover new locations, and when this event was posted on Facebook, we both agreed to give it a go. A 'local' event, not that far from where we live, and it's got an amazing line-up. We didn't know what to expect, as we've never been to an outdoor gig together, nor have we been to an event where they had Nile Rodgers & Chic, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, DJ Spoony, and Deco. We went to this event, and we were surprised. Pleasantly surprised!

We let our house around 20 to 5, and got to Bedford Park at 5pm. The doors were opening around that time, so that was spot on. The unfortunate thing was, the weather has not been great the last few days. A lot of rain has fallen, even though it should be the Summer time, right? The ground was still a bit wet, but not soaking wet. Moist. That's the right word. After we were droped of by the taxi, we walked a few minutes, to find ourselves at the gates, where we had to show our entrance tickets on the Tickermaster app, and once scanned, the security checks were done, and we walked through.


As mentioned before, we are still new to the area, so we had never been to this park, but it was massive! And it looked amazing! The Sun was coming out, and we immediately looked around, to see what was there. A lot of food stands, ranging from pizza to burgers to ice cream to jerk chicken.. the list goes on. And of course, we went straight to the bar. 2 drinks, £17. That was a bit expensive, but hey ho, it is what it is. Next round was going to be simple beer and coke.


We walked throughout the park, walked passed the merchandise stand, toward the front, to see the stage, and it looked impressive. As it was still a tad empty, we walked back, sat down, and were pleasantly surprised by volunteers who walked around the event with suncream! We were expecting a washout, but the Sun came out, and it was glorious. Nice touch to have people walk around, with suncream.


But we went to see a few acts, and that's what occurred next.


DJ Spoony:

He opened the event, and he did his best to get the people dancing. I've heard of him before, so I was expecting a bit more UKG, but he played instead the tunes that fitted the masses instead. A bit more generic dance and pop tunes, but they worked really well. He also added in a bit of cheeky humour, which made everything work well. He started the event, and would play tunes between each act. So not one continuous set, but bits here and there. And yes, the weather was gorgeous, thanks to him!


Deco:

Never heard of Deco before. But both me and the wife were pleasantly surprised. I can't remember all the songs they did, but they were catchy as hell! The front area got busier, and people seemed to be having fun. And with their tunes they got everyone's attention. Catchy, and very happy songs. And they did a funny thing: a big QR code was visible throughout their set, and at one stage they asked the crowd to take a selfie of themselves with the stage behind, And then to scan the QR code, upload the picture, so it might appear in their next video. That's a cool concept. And thanks to the strange lady who jumped into our picture, of me and the missus. She couldn't resist. That's cool.


But Deco was really cool. Really enjoyed their set.


Sophie Ellis-Bextor:

Obviously DJ Spoony kept us entertained between sets, but once the next act was announced, we were all ready for it. We saw her legs first, and then the rest of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. And she brought the happiness, the disco vibes. Obviously did she do her own tracks, because that's what she is there to do. And I think we even heard a new track, or a relatively new track. She was wearing a sparkly, disco kind of outfit, and she sang like there was no tomorrow. She properly entertained the crowds, and as the weather was still looking great, we all enjoyed it. And if you didn't know she was British: she drank what looked to be a cup of tea between songs. How British is that? Keep calm and keep on drinking tea, while singing Sophie Ellis-Bextor songs. A great set.


Nile Rodgers & Chic:

The main act. And were they on time? Hell yes! No time wasted at all. This is the act we all came to see. And I grew up listening to his songs, or the songs he worked on, not knowing he was so influential. And obviously I listen to Smooth Radio, which always plays a song he's worked on. But Chic already had a legacy that cannot be taken away from them. Me and the wife liked their music before this gig, but we wouldn't call us fans of Nile. Just admirerers. But they surely made us instant fans! They weren't messing about: no talking to the crowd or a long introduction: straight into a few of their biggest songs! Only after singing for a few minutes did they stop and talk to the crowd! They came out the gate, storming! And we weren't ready for them. What a powerful group. And the songs... you all know them!


And it was hit after hit. Obviously the main man Nile was center stage, but he made sure that everyone in the band got their moment. Especially when one of the female singers did her solo bit. I literally had goose bumps. Literally. Her voice just blew us all away! It also blew the Sun away, and it got darker quite quickly. But my God, does she have a pair of lungs! Seriously impressed with her singing capabilities, but the whole band surprised us!


They were spot on! I always have an issue with artists that don't sing live the same as when they recorded their song/album, but Nile Rodgers and Chic sounded exactly like the songs you heard on the radio. No deviation, just true to their originals.


Each individual in the group contributed to this amazing set. Even the drummer got us to scream as loud as we could. And Nile just looked genuinely happy. Never seen anyone that blessed, that happy. But it's not just the happiness and the awesomeness that were important, it was all about the music, and they delivered. They certainly did.


They delivered. It might have looked cloudy, but they brought the funk with them. And they've been touring all over the world! As old as he might be, he's still young at heart. And this set certainly had heart. It was genuinely amazing, and I could not stop dancing. And sang as much as I could (I'm very bad with lyrics, and I can never remember them).


They performed, and it left me in a state of bliss. Thousands of fans were there, and even though the average age was way above our age (34 & 40 years old), we still had an amazing time. And I think everyone did.


We left the event with a smile on our face, and retrospectively we asked ourselves why we didn't visit another Bedford Summer Sessions event this year, or last year. But we are new to the area, and still have many things to learn. We have learned, and witnessed an amazing event. All acts were splendid, and I would have recommended this event, if it were to occur again (with the same acts). But as they change acts, it could change. But judging the experience last Sunday, I would recommend it to anyone in the Bedford area and surrounding areas.


From Avril Lavigne to Tom Jones, from Scooter to Pete Tong, they have all been here, in Bedford. And I'm already counting down next year. Not knowing who will come, but I will certainly keep my eyes and ears peeled. You should do the same. Experience the madness.


Side note: we were very lucky with the weather. Could be because of DJ Spoony, or of Daft Punk's song ''Get Lucky''. The experience might have been different, but we were blessed with excellent weather.


Bedford Summer Sessions: thumbs up. DJ Spoony: thumbs up. Deco: thumbs up. Sophie Ellis-Bextor: thumbs up. Nile Rodgers & Chic: not only thumbs up, but my hands, arms, and my feet!




Ps. the images aren't in order. Apologies for that. But at least you've got an idea of what you could have experienced, if you were there!


If you were there, how was it for you? Leave a comment below, always nice to hear from others.



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