Earth, Wind & Fire lights up amphitheater

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The legendary

R&B, pop-funk group Earth, Wind & Fire had people dancing and singing as they played their greatest hits at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.

EW&F returned to Youngstown after last year playing at the Covelli Centre.

Some of their No. 1 hits include “September,” “Fantasy,” “Let’s Groove” and “Boogie Wonderland.”

Excited concert-goers spoke about what they expected to see as they patiently awaited the group’s 8 p.m. Friday start time.

“I’ve been waiting to see them for 30 years,” said Rhonda Howell of Cleveland.

Howell grew up in the Youngstown area and returned for the concert. “I saw them in [Washington] D.C. 30 years ago,” she remembered.

Howell’s friend Ramona Moton said she was elated to be at the concert – attending it at the amphitheater for the first time.

“I’m looking forward to dealing with the elements of Earth, Wind & Fire,” she said.

Cindy Italiano of Youngstown said she was looking forward to seeing the band once again.

“We’ve seen them before, and they were really good,” she said. “This is our second time seeing them – the first was at the Covelli [Centre].”

Her husband Jack Italiano, also of Youngstown, said he was just happy the weather was nice. “I’m glad it’s not raining,” he said.

One concert-goer was seeing Earth, Wind & Fire for not the second or third time, but the 26th time.

“I’ve seen them all over the United States,” said Anthony Bertolino of Pittsburgh. “I’m excited for the new venue. This will be my fifth decade seeing them. They’re very entertaining and always put on an exceptional show.”

Bill LaGuardia of Poland shared the excitement of so many anticipating the concert.

“I think this is great for Youngstown,” he said. “It’s a wonderful expansion from the Covelli to here, and I hope it helps revitalize Youngstown.”

Dominic Payolone of Austintown, agreed.

“I’m looking forward to it [the concert],” he said. “This is the best place it can be.”

Mary Hunt of Barberton and her friends also thought the concert was the best place to be for her birthday.

“This is my first time ever being here and we are just now checking in,” she said. “All my friends are here and they bought my ticket for my birthday and it’s a good day.”

Another birthday was also being celebrated by Robert McGaha of Youngstown.

“We are actually here because my sister [Leelee McGaha] just passed away and this was the last concert we were at with her,” McGaha said. “Today, we are also here to celebrate her birthday.”