The Four Tops & The Temptations...
Last night Stu and I went to see a bit of classic Motown: The Four Tops and The Temptations performing live at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Temptations were initially known as the Elgins but the quintet were renamed the Temptations by Berry Gordy when he signed them to Motown in 1961. They have undergone dozens of lineup changes over the years but a couple of their members have endured longer than you'd expect. Last night they did look rather aged on stage but the trademark dance moves were still there as were their voices. Sadly they were just badly let down by the sound. The orchestra just sounded like a din. It was awful. So much so we retired to the bar half way through the first half. But not before enjoying such hits as My Girl, Get Ready, Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) and their cover of Papa Was a Rollin' Stone.
Back for the second part of the show the sound was a lot better (but perhaps still not quite up to the RAH's usual high standard).
The Four Tops were initially known as The Four Aims but changed their name to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with The Ames Brothers. At first their signing to Motown in 1963 didn't produce much success until one day Holland-Dozier-Holland added a few lyrics to an instrumental track they had been working on. This produced The Four Tops first hit Baby I Need Your Loving. This we were treated to last night along with other hits like I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), It's the Same Old Song, Reach Out I'll Be There, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Bernadette, Walk Away Renée and the more recent Loco In Acapulco. The boys were all in fine fettle, sounded great and looked the part (yellow suits all round). At times they had a bit of the Boyz II Men feel about them but we didn't hold that against them. By the end we were clapping and singing along with the rest of the crowd.
From a personal perspective it's a shame Levi Stubbs is no longer with The Four Tops as it'd have been fun to close my eyes and match up his voice with his performance of the man-eating plant Audrey II in the 1986 musical film Little Shop of Horrors.
Stu is more of a Motown girls fan rather than a Motown boys fan. And although we had fun at the gig last night I'm not sure last night did much to change his mind.