Sunday night’s return of the legendary Motown group to Meijer Gardens proved to be full of soulful nostalgia and classic, enduring songs. The review and photo gallery at Local Spins.
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It was a night of soulful splendor in Grand Rapids.
Another stunning Sunday for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture’s Park’s Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts began promptly at 7 p.m. when Detroit’s own music royalty and internationally renowned jazz vocalist Kimmie Horne sashayed onto the stage with a five-piece Detroit band in tow.
With the band dressed head to toe in solid white, Horne made a dashing statement in her contrasting neon yellow peplum top, white bottoms and strappy white heels.
Lighting up the stage as they kicked off the night with a buoyant disposition, the band moved into a vibrant take on Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Following right behind was a fresh rendition of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s 1967 hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
“It’s a heck of a thing,” Horne said, fondly expressing her deep appreciation for Motown and her hometown. “This is home. Yes, I’m calling this home.”
After her heartfelt moment, the group moved into its own R&B version of Lee Ann Womak’s “I Hope You Dance” in a tear-inducing dedication to Horne’s father.
Before the 45 minute set came to a close, the five-piece band elevated the show with George Gershwin’s “Summertime” as Horne crooned to the sun-kissed amphitheater. Each member of the band seamlessly rolled off one another’s solos to showcase their abilities while Horne brought more power with her improv and scat vocalizations. Concluding with an immaculate three-part harmony, Kimmie Horne and her band left the crowd in speechless awe.
THE TEMPTATIONS OOZE EFFORTLESS CHARM, CLASSIC HARMONIES
Looking ultra slick in black and white pinstripe suits, golden yellow vests and patent leather kicks, the exemplary and indelible entertainers effortlessly charmed the audience, which rose to its feet the minute The Temptations met their microphones.
In classic form, the legendary artists responsible for the “psychedelic soul” movement shimmered with radiance and energy as they sang with precision and vitality as they danced together in natural synchronization.
Backed by a 15-piece band, a new bass vocalist and maestro, the energy of The Temptations never subsided. Even as the group moved onto more touching numbers like “I Wish It Would Rain,” the soulful classics continued to move the audience, never once breaking stride.
Promoting their new album “The Temptations 60,” founding member and last original of the group, Otis Williams sat down with the crowd to happily announce that he had turned 80 last October.
“There will never, ever be another company like Motown Records,” he insisted, reciting sentimental memories of the label, key players and their artist development, especially giving accolades to the late Paul Williams (whose nephew, Adrian Williams, now plays guitar in the group.)
Before closing out the night, the group performed a new slow and sensual song with lyrics by the great Smokey Robinson and then later brought the crowd to a roar with smash hit “My Girl.”
One hit after another, songs like “Just My Imagination,” “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” “I Can’t Get Next To You” and “My Girl” captivated one person to the next. It was glaringly obvious that these entertainers have only gotten better in the 60 years that they’ve been around.
While the vocal delivery was smooth, controlled and enchanting with deep bass, angelic soprano, perfectly blended baritone, tenor and alto, there was not a single step missed, a single intonation problem or a single person (on and off stage) left to smile.
With pristine harmonies, energy, humor, wit and swagger, The Temptations prove again that age ain’t nothin’ but a number.
Next up at Meijer Gardens: The sold-out “Bluegrass Happening” show tonight (June 27) featuring Bela Fleck & My Bluegrass Heart, Sam Bush & The Jerry Douglas Band.
PHOTO GALLERY: The Temptations, Kimmie Horne at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek