Nile Rodgers at the Montreux Jazz Festival

Nile Rodgers joins a melodic odyssey of music and legends.

Words by Sandrine Delaplage (Pellassy)

All photography by Sandrine Delaplage (Pellassy) 

This year Relentless magazine visited the 54th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival for the entirety of the festival from June 30th to 15th of July during which the festival offered a plethora of live concerts, founded by the jazz and rock enthusiast Claude Nobs in 1967. Ranging from DJs, Live Concerts to Jam sessions after the main events, electrifying people until 4am. The Montreux Jazz never failed keeping the Swiss Riviera alive with non-stop music until the early hours of the morning.

The festival line-up boasted a spectacular array of legendary musicians such as Nile Rodgers, Lionel Richie, Iggy Pop and the Losers, Billy Idol and Seal, all delivering a spectacular performance that left the audience in awe.

Nile Rodgers was nothing short of sensational as he left the crowds in pure ecstasy. As a true music icon and the original funk writer, he brought an unmatched level of energy and charisma to the stage, captivating every soul in the audience.

With his signature old-school Stratocaster, flaired jeans, Nile Rodgers exuded an air of timeless charm and stardom. As he and his band, Chic, took to the stage, the atmosphere instantly ignited with anticipation and excitement.

From the first chord he strummed, Nile Rodgers proved why he is considered a musical legend. His guitar riffs were immaculate and rich, weaving together a tapestry of funk, disco, and soulful melodies that transcended time and space. Each note seemed to resonate with the hearts of the listeners, bringing back memories of the golden era of music and creating new memories for the younger generation. Nile Rodgers wrote some of the most iconic songs we all know and love including, “I’m coming out,” ‘Upside down,” “We are family,” “Like a virgin” and “Material girl.” 

As Chic’s Norma Jean and Kimberly Davis joined him on stage, their powerful vocals complemented Nile’s guitar wizardry to perfection. Together, they unleashed a euphoric blend of dance-inducing hits like “Le Freak,” “Lose Yourself to Dance,” and “Upside Down.” The crowd surrendered to the groove, moving, and swaying to the infectious rhythm that seemed to possess everyone.

Nile Rodgers’ interaction with the audience was equally mesmerizing. He connected with his fans on a personal level, engaging them with anecdotes and stories from his illustrious career. With his warm smile and down-to-earth demeanour, he made everyone feel like they were part of an intimate gathering of friends.

The highlight of the show came when Nile Rodgers and Chic unleashed their most iconic track, “Good Times.” The audience erupted into a euphoric frenzy, singing along to every word. The energy in the room was electrifying, and the entire atmosphere felt charged with sheer joy and nostalgia. As the final notes of reverberated through the venue, the cheers and applause from the crowd seemed endless. Nile Rodgers and Chic left the stage, but the impact of their performance lingered in the hearts of everyone fortunate enough to witness it.

Nile Rodgers’ sensational live stage performance was a testament to his status as a musical genius and an enduring legend. With his mastery of the guitar and his innate ability to connect with the audience, he reminded us all why his music has stood the test of time and continues to inspire and awe generations of music lovers.

The mastermind behind this musical extravaganza, Mattieu Jatton, skilfully brought together 11 stages, with over 400 artists open to everyone, some situated right on the lake itself catering to the younger audience, while others graced the elegant Coupole terrace. Among the highlights were the free jam sessions, where aspiring musicians shared the stage with renowned icons for unforgettable after-show performances. The Montreux Jazz Festival stood out among other music events, offering a real and immersive musical experience. From retro chic rock and jazz to the latest house music, the Montreux Jazz Festival remained true to its tradition of entertaining diverse crowds. 

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