EW&F Detail What They Do To Cope With Pain After Losing Leader, Maurice White
As Earth, Wind & Fire members get ready to embark on their tour titled, ‘2054 The Tour,’ starting July 12th and ending on Aug. 22nd, they are doing so with excitement, but also with a great sadness that was not there before.
Although the upcoming EW&F tour will highlight the euphoric days of the 70’s/80’s soul R&B era, they’ll also incorporate a special tribute to their leader, Maurice White, who passed away last year (2016) at 74 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Prior to his passing, the three other original members- Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, and Maurice’s brother, Verdine White- had always paid tribute to Maurice ever since he stopped performing with the group in 1995 (for health reasons). However, they admitted that this upcoming tribute will be extremely sad for them, because now Maurice is no longer here.
See what EW&F revealed to ABC News about how they’ve been having to pretty much conceal their pain publicly, while trying to cope with it at the same time:
Via ABC News: “We’re still healing,” said drummer Ralph Johnson, one of three original members still playing the band’s infectious hooks. “I think the way we’ve dealt with it has been to do the music.”
“It’s not something you get over. Maurice will always be part of us. We cut our teeth on Earth, Wind and Fire. He was our mentor, our leader, our Elvis, our John Lennon, all in one guy,” said White’s brother, Verdine.
Each night, after unleashing a top-heavy string of hits, Earth, Wind & Fire get serious during the White tribute. It comes during the song “That’s the Way of the World,” when a video memorial of Maurice White plays.
Johnson and Verdine White — joined by fellow original member, singer Philip Bailey — said they try to avoid looking at each other during the show’s memorial part for fear that tears will fall. Many fans stop to pull out cellphones and capture the moment. “Everything is fun, fun, fun, fun. Then we get to that section and that’s when the show gets heart. All we see is just phones,” said White. “It’s heavy. It’s deep. It’s beautiful, though.”
If you’re in the area between July 12th and Aug. 22nd, when their The Tour hits these cities, be sure to check them out: EW&F will make their way through Oakland, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C and their last stop will be in Detroit (in that order). Rest well Maurice White after a phenomenal job well done.