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Four Tops Bring Memories of Motown to Winnipeg
MTS Centre @
- Winnipeg, MB @
Number One Contributor
The Four Tops brought their trademark brand of R&B/pop to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, performing a set list of hits, combined with a few deep album cuts.
Only Abdul “Duke” Fakir remains from the original Four Tops heyday. But the new line-up did a surprisingly good job of the capturing the unmistakable moves, style, presentation, and sense of fun, spirit and overall sound of this legendary Motown group!
New Tops members included Theo Peoples (recruited from the Temptations), Ronnie McNeir and Roquel Payton (son of original Four Tops member Lawrence Payton).
They kicked the set off the night with a medley of their early hits which included 1964’s “Baby I Need Your Loving,” 1967’s “Bernadette,” and the 1965 classic, “It’s the Same Old Song.”
The tempo slowed for the 1968 chart hit “Just Walk Away Renee,” and their 1970 No 11 Billboard hit “Still Water (LOVE),” before picking things up again with their track“Something About You,” from their 1964 release Four Tops Second Album.
The backup group was very tight. They weren’t the Funk Brothers (Motown’s killer studio house band who played on all the great Motown Records) but they had a popping rhythm section and real horns (not the schmaltzy synthesized variety).
The mid-tempo track “Just Ask the Lonely” from their 1964 self-titled debut album preceeded their well received 1973 hit single “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got,” which got a few fans dancing in aisles.
New lead vocalist Peoples got his best reception of the night on an empassioned cover of Heat Wave’s 1976 hit “Always and Forever.”
Granted, the late Tops’ original lead singer, the late Levi Stubbs had arguably the most unique and powerful voices in the entire Motown stable and few could stand in his shoes. But Peoples is a fine lead singer in his own right and, did a commendable job of interpreting the spirit of his legendary predecessors, while still asserting his own style as lead vocalists.
But fans came to hear the hits, and the Detroit combo did not disappoint, ending the set with another medley of their classics including their 1966 No 1 hit, “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” there 1966 follow up hit, “Standing in the Shadow of Love,” and closed with their 1965 No 1 smash, “ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”
Along with The Temptations, who co-headlined, The Four Tops had the MTS Centre crowd dancing and grooving like it was 1965 – and me with them!