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War at the Forum

War at the Forum

Jan. 17, 1980: War in concert at the Forum in Inglewood. The band members are wearing Los Angeles Rams jerseys to celebrate the team’s playing in Super Bowl XIV on Jan. 20, 1980 at the Rose Bowl. Guitarist Howard Scott is on left.

Columnist Terry Atkinson reported in the Jan. 19, 1980 Los Angeles Times:

Calling Thursday night’s triple bill at the Inglewood Forum “The Super Bowl of Super Soul” made about as much sense as inviting the mediocre San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions to play in this year’s real Super Bowl.

But that didn’t deter the promoters of the War-LTD-Pleasure concert from the label in ads. The timeliness of the tie-in was apparently too tempting. To the promoters; not to the public. No seats to this Super Bowl were scalped for $300. At least a quarter of the 15,600 seats remained vacant.

The presence of War as a headliner might alone have been enough to draw a full house in the mid-’70s. But too much time had passed since the group’s peak period, when it produced alluring hits like 1972’s “The Cisco Kid” and 1975’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” Few interesting singles or albums have intervened.

Despite this and the continued lack of a strong lead vocalist, the nine-member band delivered a largely admirable performance – while it lasted. The group promised to “play all night,” but left the stage after only 55 minutes, one of the musicians blaming a local curfew.

Perhaps it was just as well. The first 40 minutes of the set consisted of a skillfully rendered medley of War’s early ’70s material–with an emphasis on those Latin-infused, darkly melancholy soul-jazz songs that have been the group’s forte; “Slipping Into Darkness” and “The World Is a Ghetto.” But the more recent numbers that made up the end of the set compared poorly, and a slide into indulgent soloing had commenced by the time the curtain figuratively came down…

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 at Super Bowl XIV, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers each finished the 1979 season with records of 2-14.

A different photo of War guitarist Howard Scott by former staff photographer George Rose was published in the Jan. 19, 1980 Los Angeles Times.

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