View Full Version : Temptations & Four Tops Live At Ravinia ! Dam It was Hot !


08-11-2010, 10:25 PM
This past Sunday I had the opportunity to see two of the groups that I've grown up with, The Four Tops and Temptations. The venue was Chicago's Ravinia Festival which is held outdoors under the Stars yada, yada , yada...... The temperature at show time [[7:30) was about 90 degrees, it was hot & muggy, yet we all know that the show must go on.

Ravinia like most venues of this sort prides itself on the experience, lawn chairs, coolers, wine and cheese. Although this is not the most conducive atmosphere to see this acts, it is a great place to hear them. They do feature a 3200 seat covered pavilion in addition to the 2000 lawn area seats so I was prepared to park about 2 miles from the locale and then be shuttled, more like herded to the venue.

The Temptations came on first and did a satisfying but staid show. They were in fine form,except they went through their wine and cheese set list, which not only was predictable but totally accepted and enjoyed by the bourgeois crowd, sans this reporter.

The Temptations came out in Flaming almost red jackets and yellow pants. Fronted by Big Bruce Williamson, they began the set with Marvin's Can I get A Witness. [[hated it!)

They went on to perform their '"tribute set" by singing, Get ready, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Ball of Confusion, My Girl, Girls Alright with Me and other similar songs.
The highlight was them giving Terry Weeks a chance to blow the crowd away with " Since I Lost My Baby". They didn't sing a single song from Phoenix Rising, For Lovers Only, or their new CD Still Here. This is the first time I have ever saw the Temptations perform at a Show and they didn't sing a song from their new/latest LP/CD. They did receive a standing ovation for their rendition of "Treat Her Like a Lady" [[ more for their dance than vocals) but there was never any mention of the passing of Ali Woodson or any other dead Temptation. But that was ok too, this crowd was there to see this incarnation of the Temptations and they could have cared less. I could have sworn I was at a PBS oldies special. Would you believe they didn't even sing Poppa was a Rolling Stone, but they did squeeze in "Just My Imagination".

Anyway they closed the set with My Girl and were gone.........the sound technicians at Ravinia need their asses kicked but thats another story. But I will say this Joe Herndon and Terry Weeks are something special, they both sing and move exactly as Temptations should ! Ron Tyson remains a trooper and Bruce is Bruce and Otis is Otis.......almost forgot Bruces biggest crowd reception came when he pretended to be riding/spanking a woman doing a sex act ... I was just hoping he would'nt fall off the stage. He appeared exhausted.

Next Up : The Four Tops, ladies and gentlemen let me state that The Four Tops have gotten younger and better. Their decision to have Theo Peoples replace Levi and the addition of R. Payton has placed this group back in the forefront of performance artists.

The Tops were in their element and it showed. They performed the hits as well, Standing In The Shadows of Love, Reach Out, Bernadette, Are You Man Enough, Baby I need Your Loving and several more. They were dressed to the nines in Coco Brown Suits and Ivory Silk shirts and looked younger and more energetic than the Temptations. Each one took a turn singing lead vocals. Roquel Payton had the crowd enraptured with his version of Luther's "Dance With My Father". A very pleasant surprise. Duke Fakir, did a hokey tribute rendition of "MY Way, retitled "Our Way" which was flat as all get out but understood. Ronnie McNeir tried to sing "Ask The Lonely and Stillwater", and I would suggest that he refrain from doing Ask The Lonely, thats a hard ass song to sing, where Levi was effortless, Ronnie strained and cracked a little.

Now Theo, this was a big mistake for The Temptations not to put this man front and center, because he had the crowd eating out of his hand. The consummate professional, he hit all the notes, sweated profusely in the heat, and made Ravinia his own. Yes my friends and readers The Four Tops kicked much ass on this hot night. And they did it effortlessly. They sing and move better than I've seen them in a long time. Roquel is a riot and has enough energy for two groups. Theo closed the show with I Believe in You and Me and people were actually crying.

The Tops show was a tribute throughout to their fallen members, they showed video of past shows and TV performances during the show. Motown was in the house and The Tops ruled. I was able to capture a few pics which I'll post later.

But I will give both groups big props for bringing it only as they can. Who would have thought I would be writing about these groups 46 years after I bought my first Tempts/Tops record...........