The Motown Event, Australian setlist
Ain't no theatre wide enough... (Photograph: Chris Boyd)
Here's the set list from the first Australian performance (at Rod Laver Arena) tonight.
Mary Wilson of the Supremes
Medley: Baby Love/Stop in the Name of Love
You Can't Hurry Love
You Keep Me Hangin' On
You've Really Got A Hold On Me
I Second That Emotion
Tracks Of My Tears
Don't Leave Me This Way
Everything's Alright ("Uptight")
Ian Moss with Joan Osborne and Jimmy Barnes
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
Just My Imagination
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
The Way You Do The Things You Do
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Nowhere To Run
Dancin' in the Street
Midnight Train To Georgia
Money (That's What I Want)
I Was Made To Love Her
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Jimmy and Mahalia Barnes
River Deep Mountain High
Highlight of the Four Tops set... Chris Newman's lighting.
Baby I Need Your Lovin'
Medley: Reach Out/Walk Away Renee/Standing in the Shadows/I Can't Help Myself/...
I'll Be There
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
The Motown Event - celebrating 50 years of Motown Hits. Rod Laver Arena Melbourne, Tuesday February 16, 2010. Also Sydney Entertainment Centre on the 19th, Brisbane Entertainment Centre on the 23rd and Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley WA, on the 28th.
My review should be in Friday's Herald Sun.
Here 'tis. As printed:
If Tuesday’s concert had been half an hour shorter, if the Four Tops had missed the plane and Mahalia Barnes had got the gig instead of dad Jimmy, if Joan Osborne had stopped after just the one song (a remarkably good rendition of My Guy), if the voices had been mixed as brilliantly and as cleanly as the band... then this gig would have won a perfect score, an even five stars out of five.
But Barnesy was brutal; completely out of place. And The Four Tops had me briefly considering topping myself. Everything after Vandellas’ survivor Martha Reeves’ rendition of Nowhere To Run was superfluous.
Up to that point, we had marvel after marvel after marvel. We had Mary Wilson’s delicious renditions of one hooky Supremes song after another: Love Child, Reflections, Baby Love and Stop In The Name Of Love... though she ran out of air and her voice flattened too soon.
Then, if anything, the Miracles upped the stakes. Perhaps because I didn’t expect them to. Mark Scott’s tenor was so silvery and natural, simple songs were revealed to have great riches under the tinny tarnish. And the Temptations closed out the first half with great fun and showmanship, singing Get Ready, My Girl and Ain’t Too Proud To Beg. Here, Bruce Williamson starred.
Martha Reeves might have been the least agile of the lot, physically, but her voice Catherine wheeled its way around the constellations in songs like Heatwave and Jimmy Mack and, best of all, in Nowhere To Run. Her performance was risky, soulful and utterly committed. She was an impossible act to follow.
After Reeves, Jimmy Barnes was as shocking as punk after disco or a chainsaw on soft flesh.
Concert projects like these reveal riches in old music that early recording technologies routinely gouged out. It’s as if we’re hearing the songs properly for the first time. It’s so much better than mere better than remastering. It’s a total restoration.
And, at fifty, Motown is looking -- and sounding -- damn fine.