*As far as how Earth, Wind & Fire did replacing Frankie Beverly and Maze in the closing slot at the Essence Festival Sunday night, Times-Picayune music reviewer Keith Spera says they never had a chance:

First sign they faced an uphill battle? The video retrospective that immediately preceded their arrival on stage was met with stony silence.

Nonetheless, the dozen musicians – only bassist Verdine White, vocalist Philip Bailey and percussionist Ralph Johnson remain from Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1970s heyday – stepped out smartly. They wore predominantly white – coincidently or not, the color members of Maze prefer on stage. Consummate pros even in the face of adversity, they smiled, sang and danced with gusto.

But they could not be who they weren’t.

Read more of Keith’s review here.

Watch Keith’s review of EWF as well as Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige, HERE: