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Performance

Performance image
Parent Issue
Day
8
Month
April
Year
1976
OCR Text

Riding high on their fast-selling new live album lor Atlantic (produced, as are their studio dates, by Thom Bell), the mighty Spinners pranced and sang their wuy through a brilliant ïast-paced set béfore a capacity audience at Eastern Michigan University's Bowen Fieldhouse, possibly the worst concert site this writer has ever endured. Opening with an instrumental tribute to Thom Bell from the Spinners Orchestra (under the direction of legendary Detroiter Maurice King), the veteran some hit the stage with the album s familiar program of "Fascinating Khythm, rveoot lo Malee It On My Own" ing the incredible vocal pyrotechnics of ippe "Soul" Wynne for the first time). and "Living a l.ittle. . ing a Little." "PU Be Around" added some unexpeeted spice, and Wynne came all the way out into the open with nis souHul reading of the popular ancestor worship anthem "Sadie," thrilling the enchanted crowd with his beauty, superb taste, and perfect control. The recent hit singles (missing trom the album) "Games People Play" and "Love Me or Leave Me" (t'eaturing Wynne's unbelievably exciting lead vocal) took the show to a higher level of perception and passion, marred only by the group's often goofy choreography, designed tor men much er (and in the case of Wynne and Billy Henderson, much slimmer) than the 1976 ners. One would hope that after twenty solid years of creating some of the most beautiful music America has ever . ed, these masterful singing artists could present their music in a physical format better suited to their artistic stature. But the show must go on, and after Ypsilanti Mayor George Goodman mounted the stage to declare "Spinners Day" in his fair city (and say, George, how about a public concert facility to replace this sliitiy gymnasium?), the Spinners spun into their fanious medley of impressions: Tom Jones, the Marvellettes, the Ink Spots (whose pionecring approach to the bailad l'orm dominated black popular music throughout the 50's), Diana Rossand the Supremes, the Mills Brothers, Klvis Presley, and the seminal AiroAmerican musical genius, Louis Armstrong. "Could It Be I'm Fallin' in Love" brought things straight back to the present, and Wynne look off again on the well-known "Love Don't Love Nobody," his voice soaririg and dipping like a gorgeous bird in flight. "Mighty Love" was the natural closer, with the Spinners' powerful delivery lifting the massive sudience another loot or two higher in the air before placing everybody gently back down on the round, tiilly satisfied and glowing like crazy. Ms. Natalie Cole, daughter of the late Nat "King" Colé, did a good job of warming up the audience for the Spinners even though her music, and particularly her choice of material, left quite a bit to be desired. Blessed with a strong vocal instrument, good stage presence, two charming back-up singers and a tighl, fully competent band ("Trance"), Ms. Cole laeks the one thing that makes singers mteresting: feeling. She flips desperately trom one stance to another in a mi.sguided attempt to demónstrate her virtuosity, succeeding only in convincing one that she possesses no sincerity whatsoever. The nadit of Ms. Cole's set was reached for this writer with her emotionally shallow, technically brilliant reading of the classic "Good Morning, Heartache." If only one could believe that Ms. Cole had suffered anything more in her life than a missed afternoon or two at the pool, this number would gain sufficient power to be considered a genuine tour-de-force of the blues. She was most at home with the MOR hit "Joey," a song that fit her personality to a T, and most offensive with her screechy treatments of the Beatles' "Come Together" and Stevie Wonder's "Livin' for the City." Of course she included her two hits "Inseparable" and "This Will Be," and she reached back into her roots lor the horrid Doris Day number, "Que Sera, Sera," not a happy occasion in any way. It's a terrible thing to say, but if something awful were to happen to Natalie Cole in the next few years, she'd make a heil of a singer. As it is now, she belongs on TV-sort of a "soul" version of Helen Reddy - and that's Drobablv iust wherc she'll be.