OK, I lied, I'll get to the follow-up on Steve's keynote tomorrow...
Tonight we're off to witness another kind of presentation at Osaka's Festival Hall, a concert by the legendary group Earth Wind & Fire. We saw them in Osaka 18 months ago at the larger Osaka Hall arena. They were amazing as usual. Tonight we get to experience them in a more intimate setting.
I have always been a jazz guy, but Earth Wind & Fire have been my favorite group overall since I was a kid and have influenced my personal drumming style and appreciation for percussion (even as a jazz drummer). EWF are a funk and RB group but you can hear the influences of Jazz in their music as well. EWF's music combines beautiful melodies with very spiritual lyrics. Some of their ballads are quite powerful. The Spirit album is especially good and inspiring.
60 really is the new 30
Many of the EWF members are in their mid 50s. Founder (and genius), Maurice White, is about ten years older than that (and is battling Parkinson's). Yet when I saw them live in late 2004 their energy seemed as strong as their gigs of the 1970s. They look great. They sound great. And the women in their 20s behind us were clearly digging it. Who says 60 is old? I know plenty of boring "old," uninspiring men in their 20s. Age matters not (to me at least). It's so refreshing to see artist like this still going strong. Sure, they took their time off in the past (got to keep it fresh) and had some flops, but these guys are no "oldies" novelty act. I love their new album, including their song with Kenny G (who played in Osaka last night).
Are you 58? 68? Let EWF be a lesson to you. If you have a compelling message and something worth while to offer, just let it all hang out (baby). If you've got the energy, passion, and commitment to "the cause" (whatever it may be) you are never too old to make a big impact and change things. EWF is proof too that though you can't go back to the past, your can still take your message forward and reach out to new people, new audiences (new markets, etc.). You failed in the past? So what? It's a big world.
Presentation and the art of funk
The Earth Wind & Fire sound is a beautiful, positive blending of Soul, RB, Funk, and even Jazz. They are musicians. They are artists. But they are also story tellers, and in a way, presenters while they are on stage. And like any good presentation, their performance will be a powerful mix of great content, powerful visuals, and an emotional human touch that makes a lasting connection with the audience. I'm always looking for inspiration and ideas that I can pull over to world of business presentations/public speaking. I'm sure I'll learn a thing or two tonight (as well as have a great time, which is what it's all about).