Updated: May 13, 2021
Next to the cinema experience, one of the things I missed most during the initial COVID pandemic was attending a concert. Thus I was delighted to attend my first concert in over a year, the day before Mother's Day. My first concert of 2021, We Are One X-Perience, at the renowned music hall, The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.
The We Are One X-Perience is an eight-piece tribute band that pays homage to Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. The band is led by drummer ELWarren "Spoon" Weatherspoon with Paul Bumbry on lead vocals. Naturally, since it was the day before Mother's Day, the lively MC who opened the show made sure to shout out all the moms in attendance.
The show began with a bit of irony for me as I mentioned to my mom that lead singer Paul Bumbry actually bore a resemblance to Jeffrey Osborne instead of Frankie Beverly. However, once the music kicked off with an energetic performance of "I've Got You," it was all about Maze. Bumbry commanded the stage as a professional while the band backed him, showcasing their instrumentation skills. The first half of the show included classic Maze hits such as "Back in Stride," "Too Many Games," and Laid Back Girl.
During the first half of the show, my favorite moment was hearing "Can't Get over You," which ended with a lush transition into "We Are One." The first half of the show ended with "Look in Your Eyes." After a brief intermission, the band returned to the show kicking things off with the staple "Before I Let Go." We Are One X-Perience then treated the audience to "Joy and Pain," "Southern Girl," and of course, "Happy Feelings. The night ended with the group performing their single, a Go-Go-inspired cover version of "Feel That You're Feelin."
Due to time constraints, some of my favorite Maze slow cuts such as "Family," "Morning After," and "Golden Time of Day" were not part of the setlist. Nevertheless, it was great to experience live music again. Paul Bumbry, Les Campbell, Jim Carney, Tony "Too Hype" Contee, Art Diggs, Ron "Smooth" Fowler, Monty "Mellow" Tillman, and ELWarren "SPOON" Weatherspoon, who make up We Are One X-Perience, pay a respectable to the legendary Maze. They have earned a fan in me, and I highly encourage you to check out their next show.
Final Grade: A