You don’t have to be a diehard fan of Village People or Kool & The Gang—let alone have seen them live—to be able to sing along to their hits. Between weddings, coming-of-age gatherings, work parties, listening to the radio, and merely existing in the modern world, you’ve probably heard “Macho Man”, done the “YMCA” dance, gotten down to “Get Down On It”, and sung along to “Celebration”. For two nights over a steamy July weekend at the Hollywood Bowl, fans of funk, disco, and pure joy did just that as Village People and Kool & The Gang descended upon Los Angeles’ most iconic outdoor venue for some old-fashioned good times.

Village People kicked off the Saturday night festivities with a tight 40-minute set that began with the bang of “Macho Man”. The costumed crusaders continued with regional shoutouts in “Sam Francisco (You’ve Got Me)”, “In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star)”, and “Go West” before taking time to properly introduce the current players behind the cowboy, the Native American, the army man, and the leather-clad biker.

Victor Willis, who switched between cop and navy admiral outfits, figured most prominently of all. Throughout the show, the group’s longtime lead singer and founding member insisted to the audience that he essentially is the Village People. The 72-year-old Dallas native has a point: He wrote all of the group’s biggest hits and was the lone active member from the Village People’s salad days in the late 1970s who made it to the stage at the Hollywood Bowl.

As expected, Victor led the charge on “In The Navy”, clad in his white naval outfit, before guiding the audience through the “official Village People version” of the “YMCA” dance (hint: the “M” forms in front of the chest, not overhead, and the “C” should go to one’s left).

Once the guys from Greenwich Village had completed their seat-jumping set, their counterparts from New Jersey took their turn under the Hollywood Bowl’s famous shell. Led by original bassist Robert “Kool” Bell, Kool & The Gang extended their streak as the longest-running R&B outfit ever with their own collection of smash singles.

The joyous jammers from Jersey City eased into their unmistakable catalog with “She’s Fresh” and “Misled” before nodding to the local weather with “Too Hot” and cooling things down with the famed ballad “Joanna”.

After an instrumental break, which included a bust-out of the ethereally funky “Open Sesame”, Kool & The Gang embarked on a show-closing run of cultural staples that would be the envy of just about any musical act. They brought the noise and the funk with “Jungle Boogie” and went jazzy with “Summertime” (which Will Smith famously sampled many moons ago) before rolling out a trio of bangers in “Ladies’ Night”, “Get Down On It”, and, of course, “Celebration”.

Related: The Disco Biscuits “Get Down On It” In D.C. With Brassy Dance Covers Ft. Snacktime [Photos/Videos/Audio]

There’s plenty more nostalgia to come from both of these historic acts, though they will rarely be in the same place again this year. Village People have only a handful of American dates left on their 2023 tour, and no public ones until August 11th in Decatur, IL following stops in Spain, Hungary, and the Canary Islands. Meanwhile, Kool & The Gang have shows scheduled in New Jersey, New York, California, Oklahoma, Canada, and Georgia prior to a three-night stint in Las Vegas.

But if you’re hell-bent on catching this party-powered double-header, there is at least one date on the calendar for you: September 24th at The Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. If the back-to-back Hollywood Bowl shows were any indication, an early fall trip up to the Bay Area’s southern peninsula should be well worth the mission.

Village People – “Macho Man” – 7/14/23

[Video: Mo Sin Clutch]

Kool & The Gang – “Ladies Night” – 7/14/23

[Video: Mo Sin Clutch]

Kool & The Gang – “Get Down On It” – 7/14/23


[Video: Mo Sin Clutch]

Kool & The Gang – “Jungle Boogie” – 7/14/23


[Video: Mo Sin Clutch]

Kool & The Gang – “Joanna” – 7/14/23


[Video: Mo Sin Clutch]

Kool & The Gang – “Hollywood Swinging” – 7/14/23


[Video: Alan Todd]

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