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Legendary R&B Groups, The Temptations & The Four Tops, Light up The Theater at MGM in Oxon Hill, MD

The Four Tops and The Temptations brought the essence of '60s soul music to The Theater At MGM in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Friday, December 1st. The two groups have toured together for years, and this was my second time seeing them together in over a decade. The groups alternate who goes first, and The Four Tops kicked things off for this show.

The quartet, originally from Motor City, consists of Abdul "Duke" Fakir (the founding member), Ronnie Mcneir, Lawrence "Roquel" Payton Jr. (son of the original member Lawrence Payton),and Alexander Morris. Duke was absent from the show due to surgery, but his replacement (whose name I can't recall) did a commendable job. The Tops were backed by an Orchestra and performed for an hour, entertaining the crowd with impressive dance moves, crooning and witty banter.

During their performance, the group performed some of their most notable hits, including "Baby I Need Your Loving." "Standing in the Shadows of Love," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," "Bernadette," "Ain't No Woman Like the One I Got," and "Same Old Song." They also added a few Christmas tunes and covers from Chuck Berry and Kurt Weill's catalogs. They concluded their set with their signature song, "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch."

The Tempts took the stage amidst thunderous applause after a brief intermission. The current lineup includes Terry Weeks, Ron Tyson, Tony Grant, Jawan Jackson, and original member Otis Williams. With impressive chorography and alternating lead vocals from Weeks, Tyson, and the stellar Tony Grant, their performance was a spectacular sight to behold. The group opened with "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" and dished out hits from the massive catalog.

"Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "Ball of Confusion," "I Wish It Would Rain," and "Just My Imagination" all made their way into the night's performance. One of my favorite moments of the evening was hearing an instrumental version of my #1 Tempts song, "Standing On The Top," which the group grooved to with pristine dance steps. The group performed their new song "Is It Gonna Be Yes Or No," which features Smokey Robinson. While Mr. Robinson wasn't in attendance, Tony Grant showed off vocal skill, emulating Robinson's falsetto.

As the night began to wind down, Grant called the ladies to the floor for an energetic performance of "Treat Her Like A Lady which transitioned into their signature song, "My Girl." Normally, the show would conclude at this point. However, The Tempts had a special gift for the audience, concluding the show with "Silent Night." Jawan Jackson, who portrayed the group's iconic original bass singer Melvin Franklin in the Broadway play AIN'T TOO PROUD, definitely did Justice to Franklin's part in the song.

If I had one gripe with the show, it was some of the later hits, including "I'm Here," "Stay," and "Lady Soul," which didn't find their way into the setlist. Nevertheless, after more than six decades in the game, The Tempts is still one of the standards for R&B groups and the stage performance.

Final Grade: A-


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