Say What? The L.A. County Fair’s End of Summer Concert Series is serious and soulful. I had the privilege of attending the Sept. 3 concert that featured the ’70s bands, Lakeside, Rose Royce and the Ohio Players. I had a funky good time.

A Sony Music executive once told me that a hit will always be a hit, and that surely was the case on Saturday. Although the three bands didn’t have all of their original members, the funk and soul still flowed.

My Dayton, Ohio, homeboys showed out. I am especially close to Lakeside because some of the members lived up the street from me, and the band is named after our favorite park, Lakeside. This park, walking distance from us, was like a small carnival. It had rides, carnival food, and all kids and teens from around the area could hang out all day. Lakeside was the place.

The crowd was primed and ready when Lakeside opened the show. Performing their biggest hits, the crowd was swinging and swaying to the music under the stars, in the perfect California weather. “Fantastic Voyage” was, in a word, fantastic.

By the time Rose Royce hit the stage the funk had set in and they were ready to add the soul, and we were hit with “Wishing on a Star”–perfect in the California night air. While Lakeside simply jammed song after song, Rose Royce had a different agenda, introducing the audience to band members, loads of musician solos and so forth. Then, as a new member was steadily talking, and the audience listening, he broke out with, “This is How We Do It…,” and the crowd went wild.

By the time the Ohio Players hit the stage, they too did a lot of talking and musician solos, but when they broke out with “Fire,” they sent the crowd home happily funked out.

This Friday, Sept. 9, my girls take the stage: En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa and the Emotions. All these sisters can jam, and we’re talking the real deal, baby.

En Vogue is on the comeback trail. Their classy, style and outstanding voices captivated audiences around the world, so you don’t want to miss them when they mount the stage at the fair. The group reunited, celebrated 20 years of performing and released a 20th anniversary CD; they love to sing and have no plans to ever let go.

Salt-N-Pepa is also back. They were the first all-female rap crew and also one of the first to cross over into the pop mainstream. I don’t know if they will be singing their phenomenal hit, “Push It,” but it’s OK if they don’t. They have plenty of other hits to thrill the audience.

And if you don’t remember the Emotions–think “Best of My Love”–the girls got you off your feet back in the day, and will do it again. Sisters Jeanette, Wanda & Sheila Hutchinson make up the legendary group. These girls could sing, and no doubt would have become the hottest girl group in the nation if they hadn’t walked away from it. But, baby, all the girls are back, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to be one heck of a show. Try to buy your tickets now, because I’m sure they will be going fast.

Mark your calendars for War on Friday, Sept. 16; the Doobie Brothers, Thursday, Sept. 22; Tower of Power, Friday, Sept. 23; Michael McDonald/Boz Scaggs, Saturday, Sept. 24, and closing out the End of Summer Concert Series, none other than Earth, Wind & Fire, Sunday, Oct. 2.

For more information on the shows and ticket sales, go to

Gail can be reached at