Motown royalty descended upon Coney Island, Brooklyn last night and yours truly had the privilege of sitting at the foot of greatness.
The Temptations are regarded by many as the greatest vocal group of all time and after 60 years remain still virtually untouchable. Their classic steps are hypnotic, their vocal harmonies impeccable, and their catalog of hits magnificent. Putting on an hour plus headline set, they had the audience in the palm of their hands from the moment they took the stage until they left to a standing ovation at midnight. They were nothing short of tremendous.
The 4 Tops meanwhile sounded wonderful but their set at times felt a bit more like Vegas than Motown. Mack the Knife and My Way are lovely for a casino, but not quite sure they were ideal choices for an old school Brooklyn crowd hungry for the hits. Their set did catch fire towards the end when they cut down on the cute patter and schmaltz and just plain sang their hearts out. Songs like Standing in the Shadows of Love and (Reach Out) I'll Be There sound as fresh and vital as the day they were released.
Mary Wilson exuded class, elegance and timeless beauty singing lead on Supremes classics in a 35 minute well received set. She wowed the large crowd who joyfully sang along to each of the immortal tunes and was in excellent voice to boot. Wilson even returned to the stage to briefly join the 4 Tops and their improv in a slickly packaged show was a welcome added bonus. I'd like to see her do a full show in a club setting as I left impressed and wanting more.
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas opened the nostalgic night with their anthems, battling initial sound issues, but won the crowd over. I wouldn't advise her doing Marvin Gaye covers though, as you can't improve on perfection and nobody's voice is going to touch his angelic sounds.
All in all an outstanding four hour evening of timeless classics with The Temptations memorably great and an orchestra backing each of the acts making it that much more impressive. You just can't go wrong with a night of Motown legends.
Evan Ginzburg is the Associate Producer of The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke and the upcoming full length documentary 350 Days starring Brett Hitman Hart and SuperStar Billy Graham. He is a nearly 30 year radio, TV and film veteran and the host of The Evan Ginzburg Show heard Sundays 11AM ET at www.villageconnectionradio.com.