Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Temptations

A strange night all in all, anyone who knows my musical preferences knows of my love and passion for all things Temptation.

This was the fourth time I've seen the group since 2003, this rated somewhere near the bottom not due to the group but a truly terrible concert going crowd at the Apollo.

Over the last decade The Temptations have performed on the same bill as The Four Tops as part of the T&T tours and usually to packed arenas i.e. The MEN, Sheffield Arena, NIC etc.

This year The Tempts are here on their own and doing smaller more intimate gigs. Nearly every date on the tour is currently sold out or close to selling out, their date in Liverpool on Saturday has been sold out for three months and tickets are like gold dust yet the Manchester date was no-where near selling out.

So up we trudged to The Apollo, The Tempts came on stage around 8.45 to a sadly half- empty venue. Now I'm under no illusions we all know that the classic line up of The Temptations - David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks - are long gone and with Dennis Edwards now performing with his own review in the states The Temptations are somewhat of a novelty.

I'll always support this line up and they really are a talented group. Ron Tyson who wrote and produced for the group when they were on Atlantic Records now joins Otis Williams the last surviving member of the group in chronological order.

Terry Weeks who was a roadie for the group until standing in on their 1997 UK tour he's been with the group eleven years.

Joe Herndon was bass singer for Doo-Wop group The Spaniels up until 2003 when he joined The Temptations, and Bruce Williamson a lead singer in the mould of Dennis Edwards and Ali Ollie Woodson rolled into one.
A beast of a man who can hold a note.

This current incarnation is still doing the business and it’s always a pleasure to see them, as it was the first night of the tour on Tuesday I'm willing to forgive them for a lack of a buzz.

Apparently they attended Levi Stubbs funeral in Detroit on Monday, left Chicago Monday afternoon, arrived at Heathrow performed on This Morning and then travelled up for the concert in Manchester.

They began with a track from their 2006 album Reflections Marvin Gaye's How Sweet It Is, before entering into The Way You Do The Things You Do, Get Ready, Ball Of Confusion, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, (An acapella rendition of You Are Necessary), Treat Her Like A Lady, The Girls Alright With Me, Since I Lost My Baby, I Cant Get Next To You, My Girl, Can I Get A Witness, Ain’t To Proud To Beg...

I'm a connoisseur of music if you will, I've been raised on watching acts in the rare soul environment of the Northern and Modern Soul scenes were everyone is tuned in and only interested in the act in front of you.

So I find it mightily irritating when the rest of the crowd spend the night pissed up, going back and forth to the bar and generally talking all the way through. In the bigger arenas the sound usually wipes this out and you can put up with it but on Tuesday the sound at the Apollo was so poor these tossers drowned out the group. Add to that around 40 minutes into the act people began to leave ...

The Temptations sensed this and cut the set short by around 20 minutes. So a massive thank you to the concertgoers of Manchester you really enhanced the experience of seeing my favourite group for possibly the final time.

I hope the tour picks up for them and they don't have to face a crowd like that again, and for that matter I don't have to sit with such music philistines ever again.

I'm frantically searching around for tickets at Liverpool on Saturday night....

What a difference a few nights can make, after the poor showing at the opening night in an empty Manchester Apollo I decided to not let that sour my love for the group and travelled across to Sheffield for a Halloween appearance of the group.

We arrived at the wonderful City Hall at around 7pm and in enough time to catch the wonderful Yolanda Brown, a nu Jazz Saxophonist, a stunning and extremely talented girl, who has a new album out.

Definitely one to look out for in the future, as she finished her set at around 8.30 the City Hall had completely filled up in contrast with the empty and souless feel of the Apollo on Wednesday night. At 8.45 The Temptations came on stage and immediately launched into How Sweet It Is, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Aint To Proud To Beg, Get Ready before even taking breath.

The show was absolutely electric and was possibly the finest performance I have witnessed from the group.

The set was extended from Wednesday's dismal showing at The Apollo and we were treated to an extra 25 minutes and another four songs namely 1997's grammy award-winning Stay, Run Away Child, Cloud Nine, Pyschadelic Shack.

The show finished all too soon but after 90 minutes The Tempts had made the £26 ticket price more than worthwhile, an excellent performance and I'm pleased that I didn't allow the appearance at The Apollo to sour my experiences of this group.


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