HQ Dublin, 27 May '99
Of late, Dublin has been bombarded with bands and singers of previous generations who now find themselves on the wrong side of their salad days. Many of them tragically seem to be ignorant of the fact that an appreciation in age is too often accompanied by a depreciation in performance ability. So when the middle-aged Sister Sledge took to the stage in dangerously high heels and layers of '80's chiffon, I feared the worst. However, from the offing it was clear that their voices still had it. They hit the high notes and the harmonies shimmied. Starting with the classic that even The Fall saw fit to cover, "Lost in Music", they continued to cut a path through their repertoire of classic disco tracks.
At the height of their fame, Sister Sledge were a quartet, but sisters Joni and Kathy have now linked up with cousin Diane to form a trio. Backed by, it must be said, an excellent band they belted out the hits including that sisterhood anthem "We are Family", "(He's the) Greatest Dancer" and "Frankie". They also performed Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" and Chic's "Good Times". It wasn't all disco diva stuff as Kathy performed a rousing Gospel number, and Joni sang a down-tempo love song. New girl on the sister block Diane even sang the blues, featuring her own husky harmonica solo.
With the crowd being predominantly female there was a definite air of girls-night-out about the show. They were rewarded with two encores that, honestly, appeared to be a montage of the songs played earlier in the night. It's not clear if there was any intended irony, but things were rounded off with a version of Queen's "Another one bites the dust" that saw fans dancing on stage with the band.
A curious evening of sequin nostalgia, one very much for the D.I.S.C.O. girls and boys.