Written by Dave Clements
Sep 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
ImageI’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day

When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May….

These are words that for many years I’ve longed to hear sung again live….and all of the sudden they were right there in front of me, causing me to stop in my tracks and do nothing but listen to …. My Girl.

The one and only Temptations, dressed as if it were 1965 when I last saw them, still attired in all red tuxedos standing before me at the cozy Arena Theatre.  And I am wondering why I’m so blessed to hear this music again so many years later.

I say this as these guys were only slightly older than I was when I saw them that first time in Virginia Beach.  Now only one of the original guys is still alive, Mr. Otis Williams.  He is the backbone of the group today… over a half a century later!  The rest have all sadly been recast but joyfully with extremely competent replacements.

I’ll come back and share more about 70 year old Otis a little later in this review.  Now let me talk about this group and the music of  THE TEMPTATIONS.

The ‘in the round’ Arena was a near perfect venue for these  five gentlemen as they went one by one through the tunes that made the Temps so popular for so many years.   These same tunes keep them touring still today, show after show, month after month, around North America.

ImageThese days, besides Williams, the group consists of  Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Joe Herndon, and Bruce Williamson.  Together they are a very tight, well rehearsed team that individually and collectively can absolutely sing with the best of them.  These 5 gents are so fluid together and dance in such a way that their movements become part of the song.  These signature moves have always been an important part of what the Temptations were all about, right from the beginning as a Motown first teamer.

They sounded great and almost every one of the 1500 people in attendance knew every word that was being sung on stage, reciting them as they stood on their feet, swaying and enjoying every minute of it.

The guys went through a set list of 17 songs, albeit 3-4 were part of a medley of hits.  They had plenty of classic material to choose from. Highlights for me were ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’, ‘Ball Of Confusion’, ‘I Wish It Would Rain’, ‘Just My Imagination’, ‘Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone’, ‘I Can’t Get Next To You’, ‘Get Ready’, ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’, ‘(I Know) I’m Losing You’, and as previously mentioned clearly in my Top 10 of all time, ‘My Girl’.

One song they did that I thought was more of a message to the American music public than a song, was  ‘We Ain’t Tired Yet’.  Indeed, they didn’t look tired, or sing tired, or dance tired.  The opposite is true in every instance. Beyond that, behold Mr. Bruce Wilkinson!  At over 300 lbs, he is incredibly smooth and light on his feet.  My  ‘impressed meter’ topped out on this BIG MAN…BIG TIME.

ImageBefore ending, I want to come back and spend a minute on Mr.  Otis Williams. Whether or not The Temptations had performed as great a show as they did, last night in Houston Texas we had a legend among us.  This Texarkana, TX guy is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has been in the music business for over 50 years.  He has won multiple Grammy Awards and, because of him, I got to experience one of the most enjoyable Sunday evenings I’ve spent in a long time.  Thank you Mr. Williams, thank you Temptations of 2012, you did not disappoint.

The only ‘low light’ of the evening was when some phony prima donna or ‘who do you think you are to interrupt the show’ woman presents each of the guys with a bouquet of red roses.  This same woman would be the type to yell ‘Play Freebird’.   I don’t like that behavior at a concert and this was just as out of place and disruptive…give me a break!

Until next time hope you keep it between the navigational beacons.