A numerous audience of mostly grown up people filled the Sentrum Scene in Oslo on March 9 to experience the historic golden sound of Motown Records' soul factory. The Four Tops (picture) and The Temptations were the greatest male vocal groups to come out of Motown. In the U.S., The Temptations was the more successful of the two groups, while The Four Tops were very popular in both England and Norway.
Neither of these groups has visited Norway before. Norwegian soul lovers have had to wait until 2010 for this great soul-tour, (with its own orchestra leader, eight-man horn section and two rhythm sections for each group), because classic soul has only recently become popular again with younger audiences. A big crowd at the Sentrum Scene heard the Four Tops sing "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" and "Standing in the Shadow of Love", and later, the Temptations' performing their own national anthem, "My Girl".
The concert was a well arranged and choreographed soul show, and punctually on schedule - the Four Tops started at 21:00 and finished 22:00, The Temptations started at 22:20 and finished 23:30. The Four Tops performed in sky-blue suits and the Temptations in beige outfits. Each of the groups still has one member from the original line-ups. The Four Tops has tenor singer Abdul "Duke" Fakir (b. 1935), and The Temptations has Otis Williams (b. 1939). Williams was in the classic 1965 line-up that sang "My Girl". Although neither of them are solo singers, they represent the continuity and history of the groups.
All of the newer singers filled their places well. Impressive was how Bruce Williamson, front singer of Temptations, managed to go through with his performance despite a sore throat, but he sounded good. The Temptation's trademark, the sub bass, was perfectly taken care of by Ron Herndon. The atmosphere was great and the artists' enjoyment of the public's feedback so obvious that this Motown-package will most likely come back soon.
Some of the songs that were played:
The Four Tops
Loco In Acapulco, Baby I Need Your Lovin', Bernadette, The Same Old
Song, Walk Away Renee, Lovin' You Made My Life Complete, When She Used
To Be My Girl,Tonight I'm Gonna Love You All Over, Is not No Woman
Like The One I Got, Reach Out (I'll Be There), Standing in the Shadow
of Love, Sugar Pie (Honey Bunch).
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), The Way You Do The Things You
Do, Is not Too Proud Thurs Beg, Ball of Confusion, I Wish It Would
Rain, Just My Imagination, Papa Was A Rollin' Stone, I Can not Get
Next To You, Get Ready.
Text: Øyvind Pharo - Photo: Roald Jungård