ALEX KLUFT Photography

photos and review by Alex Kluft

Saturday night, WAR played the Ventura County Fairgrounds part of the Concert In Your Car series. The last time WAR toured was in celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2019.

From the group’s original lineup the only member remaining is singer/keyboardist Leroy ‘Lonnie’ Jordan. The group’s second longest member is drummer/singer Sal Rodriguez who joined the group in 1990, followed by Marcos Reyes who joined in 1998. Guitarist Stuart Ziff joined in 2002. Harmonica player Stanley Behrens joined in 2011. Bassist Rene Camacho joined in 2015. The group’s newest member is saxophonist Scott Martin who joined in 2017. After 50 years the group stays true to their classic sound and their message of peace and love. 

Around Memorial Day weekend it’s been an annual tradition of WAR playing L.A. usually at the Greek Theater with groups like Family Stone, Tower of Power, and comedic duo Cheech and Chong. WAR played a set of nearly 90 minutes filled with hits and rarities like “Me and Baby Brother,” “Galaxy,” “Spill The Wine,” and “Summer.” From the minute WAR took the stage the show was all about groove.

ALEX KLUFT Photography

Of the various lineups the group has had in those five decades, this may very well be their best one other than the original group. My favorite part of the show is when WAR plays “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and each member trades off singing on different verses.  Jordan sang lead on most songs except when Sal Rodriguez took over for “So” and “Cinco De Mayo.” On “So” vocalist/  keyboardist 2nd Chance (Brenton Wood) joined in. Galaxy included a bass solo as well as saxophone and harmonica solos. There was also a drum and percussion solo leading into “Cinco De Mayo.” “Gypsy Man” was the closing song after “Lowrider.”

WAR is the kind of band that performs with very minimal production and their show is all about their music. Usually the only thing other than musical equipment has is their 3 backdrops, but for this show they were not present. 

WAR Setlist 

  1. Me and Baby Brother
  2. Slippin’ Into Darkness
  3. The Cisco Kid
  4. Spill the Wine (Eric Burdon and War)
  5. Galaxy-Bass solo Sax/Harmonica solo
  6. So -Sal Rodrifuez Lead Vocals Guest: 2nd Chance (keys/vocals)
  7. Don’t Let No One Get You Down
  8. Summer
  9. All Day
  10. Drum/Percussion solo Cinco De Mayo- Sal Lead Vocals
  11. Why Can’t We Be Friends
  12. Lowrider
  13. Gipsy Man