View Full Version : The Temptations and Four Tops Live at Ravinia! Dam it Was Hot !


08-11-2010, 10:33 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...........


08-11-2010, 10:47 PM
279278Temptations sing !

08-11-2010, 11:04 PM
Four Tops


Sorry folks for the poor quality but I was having a hell of a night, everything that could go wrong did but the show was stellar......

08-11-2010, 11:06 PM
Thanks for the review. It's a shame the Temps didn't do any selections from the new CD,but I understand the crowd they were performing for. They wanted to hear the hits,not the new material. :(

08-11-2010, 11:14 PM
Sir Paladin

No need for apologies. Under the circumstances, the pictures are quite satisfactory. I'll p.m. you as regards your settings.

Thank you for your report on these 2 legendary groups. I'm glad to hear the fine reports about Joe, Terry & The Tops.

08-12-2010, 11:25 AM
Nice review Mr. Palidin. Have camera will travel, works out just fine.

08-12-2010, 08:10 PM
Thanks for the review. As you know we are going to see them at Wolftrap Saturday August 21. We'll let you know....

08-12-2010, 08:56 PM
You'll probably get to see a similar show, Ravinia is a smaller version of Wolftrap. Hope you guys have fun. Oh before I forget, These guys have been performing together for several years, and yet they don't take the opportunity to perform together like they have on record/Motown 25 and other specials...hmmmmmmm, I wonder why ! Lets see, theirs one Original Top left and One Original Tempt?

08-12-2010, 10:22 PM
Great review, Paladin (Kdub) -- just excellent. As someone who has seen a few of these double-headers over the years, The Four Tops have been the better group. I've yet to see Bruce Williamson in the group. I liked G.C. Cameron, but thought he should've stuck with The Spinners, where he fit like a glove on his return to the group.

Like I said on the old board, The Four Tops are the better group right now mostly because I believe Mr. Theo Peoples is the top singer out there in soul music today. I dare someone to find a better voice right now.

Also, it always appears The Four Tops are having more fun than The Temptations, maybe because the choreography isn't so tight (and I love good choreography). Anyway, don't get me wrong, I love the Tempts, but after decades of seeing talents like Leonard, Street, Harris, Edwards, Woodson, Peoples, etc. (let alone Ruffin and Kendricks) leave for one reason or another, well, you only get so many second chances, don't you?

The Four Tops, meanwhile, have carefully and correctly replaced the sadly departed legends with excellent performers. Anyway, loved the review, good stuff!

08-13-2010, 02:20 PM
Kdub the answer to your question is time...

08-13-2010, 05:55 PM
Thanks for the review Paladin. I think the Temptations set was a little different at Black Bear. They did sing one song from their new CD and they were selling it in the lobby. They also sang Poppa Was a Rolling Stone --- to an enthusiastic dancing crowd. The 4 Tops came on first and seemed the lesser of the two acts. The Temptations really worked the crowd and seemed more engaged with the audience. Interesting eh?


08-13-2010, 05:58 PM
OK, You had me for a moment but I can see clearly now, doesn't change the fact that if they performed together, really together, when they are on the same show, that the buzz it generates could mean more revenue.........as in I saw the TNT show last night and Wow !!!!!!!, instead of yeah I saw the TNT show last nite (yawn !), plus I understand the fact they use different bands, but c'mon these are professional folks with a history and are about the last vestiges of Motown.......no offense to Smoke, Stevie & Diana, Martha, Gladys & Contours...lol

08-13-2010, 06:36 PM
Seriously, it really is about time. The venues give you x amount of time from load in to load out and you have to stay within that time frame or pay. In order for the two groups to perform together they would have to cut songs from their individual acts. TnT do not travel together, one group is on the east coast the other is on the west, when would they rehearse and where...and yes rehearsal is needed because it goes back to time....you only have so many mins on stage so whatever you do has to be blocked for time....another issue, they perform on the same bill but there are two contacts...they each have to fulfill their contractual obligations and if your contract says I'm paying you for x mins, that's what you give.

I've known one or the other group to stall for time because for whatever reason one group was running late in getting into a city but even then, each group has a set of songs they can pull from their respective repertoire. It also comes down to what songs Duke and or Otis tell their MD they want to do that night.

Another thing I thought about references the band...which band would play...the band or band members sitting on the sign line will not get PAID.

08-17-2010, 11:24 PM
@Lorne, sorry I'm Late getting back here, but I appreciate your commentary. I've seen them do this over the years where they alternate who goes on first etc. Yes they both play to the crowd. Hell I had friends who were at the show that left after the Temptations performed, they said The Four Tops put them to sleep ! Strange I know........