Mar 29, 2017

REVIEW | Legends of Motown

In February, when reviewing Classic Albums Live’s presentation of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, I mentioned that although the music was great, the performers fell flat when it came to interacting with the audience. The same cannot be said for the Legends of Motown show, which rolled into the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre on March 25th.

Legends of Motown is a 14 piece ensemble of singers and musicians who pay tribute to The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, The Jackson 5 and more. The capacity crowd were encouraged to dance, sing, clap along to the music and were even given a lesson in how to do the infamous “stop” hand gestures for The Supremes mega-hit ‘Stop in the Name of Love’. The members in Legends of Motown definitely know how to make concert-goers feel like they’re part of the act and that endearing quality was well received.

The group was described in their ads as performing “look-a-like/sound-a-like” tributes. Although everyone was vocally pitch perfect, referring to the acts as looking exactly like the original artists was a bit of a stretch. Often a change of the colourful shiny sports jackets worn by the male performers and the glittery flowing gowns worn by the female members, was all that differentiated them, when they would return to the stage as another famous Motown group...with one major exception. When the guys took to the stage as The Jackson 5, they donned large afro wigs, funky shirts and groovy bell bottom pants.

Before performing their final number, the group expressed their condolences to the St. Catharines community, dedicating the show to 7 year old murder victim Nathan Dumas, a moving gesture that touched everyone in the room. After the show, the group gathered in the main lobby for a meet and greet, a nice personal touch.

I was joined by my usual partner in crime, Shelley Stewart. This was our fifth outing together at the Performing Arts Centre and the fifth time we enjoyed a delicious pre-show dinner at Gord’s Place (my kingdom for the recipe of those tasty dry Cajun chicken favourite menu item.)

Whether they looked like the real deal or not, Legends of Motown delivered a well choreographed show, packed with timeless hits that were truly crowd pleasing. An act definitely worth seeing again.