Despite it being owned by the City of Philadelphia, don’t hold that against The Dell Music Center.
Better known as the beloved The Dell, in the grassy knoll of 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive in East Fairmount Park, every year I look forward to its lineup of legacy R&B, jazz, funk and hip hop acts. One of the best nights of my live music concert life was seeing Patti Labelle wail her heart out with a full large-scale band behind her, all dressed in white, in the pouring rain… An even more magical event when you consider that the stage of The Dell Music Center has no canopy, and yet, La Labelle was dry as a bone.
From classic soul vocal groups such as The Delfonics and The Whispers to Minnesota funk acts such as The Time and Alexander O’Neal to blues gods such as BB King to Philly rap kings such as Three Times Dope to Lady B’s ever-loving annual Basement Party, this legendary old school amphitheater has forever been a summer must be and must see.
Sure, Covid killed it in 2020, distanced or not. Yet, here we are, dosage MAGAZINE fans, in the quickly building back to some sort-of new normal Summer of 2021, and The Dell has roared back to full steam with an impressive line-up of the usual soul suspects, and well as some much needed surprises.
Susan Slawson, the GM of the Dell Music Center wrote in a note that “The Dell is thrilled to have renowned artists grace our stage and provide people from all over an opportunity to experience the power of music, community, and connection at Philadelphia’s premier outdoor amphitheater. Where the stars take center stage.” These City of Philadelphia sponsored concerts will all be held on Thursday evenings. Additional concerts will be hosted by an outside promoter, allowing The Dell to extend the concert series with three additional shows.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and all concerts are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. Also, here are some of The Dell’s notes on the events.
Sunday, August 1: “A Night of Love” with Regina Belle, Peabo Bryson, and Jeffrey Osborne
Thursday, August 5: Dru Hill, SWV, and Tank (headlining)
Tank continues to perform although his hearing has completely diminished in his left ear and starting to go in his right ear; he has graced us with such songs as “When We,” “Can’t Let it Show” and “Better for You.”
Thursday, August 12: Stokley, Leela James, Gregory Porter (headlining)
Gregory Porter, two-time Grammy Award winner for Best Jazz Vocal album. Gregory has performed here at The Dell, “Holding On” featuring Kem “Be Good (Lion’s Song)”, and “Smile”.
Sunday, August 15: Lady B’s Annual Basement Party, celebrating 40 years in radio
Thursday, August 19: Carol Riddick, Kelly Price, and The Isley Brothers (headlining)
The Isley Brothers, performing for more than 5 decades, return to the Dell stage after an amazing face-off against Earth, Wind & Fire for VERZUZ, hosted by Steve Harvey. Their first album “Shout” came out in 1959.
Sunday, September 5: Patty Jackson’s Party in the Park featuring After 7, Stephanie Mills & The Whispers