Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 9, 2009

Spectrum & SSO

Symphony Hall, Springfield
February 7, 2009
By Eric Sutter

Imagine entertainment that beat the winter blues into the ground: four incredible singers, all experienced stand alone soloists, who combined their smooth voices to create Spectrums' beautiful harmonies backed by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra under the direction of guest conductor Jonathan Lam.

The joy began with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra's performance of "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. The audience was captivated by an evening of Spectrums' renditions of the best of Motown, leading off with classic Temptations' hits such as "Get Ready", "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and a Four Tops medley that consisted of "Same Old Song", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love" and "Bernadette" all with the hand clapping, rolling arms and exciting dance steps that moved the audience too. Dressed in blue sports coats and white pants, Spectrum performed a neatly choreographed "Under The Boardwalk" (The Drifters). Other stirring songs had the audience singing -- "Ooo Baby Baby" (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), "LaLa...Means I Love You" (Delfonics) and "Rubberband Man" (Spinners).

Wearing red sequined jackets and black slacks, the quartet opened the second half with "Reach Out, I'll Be There" (Four Tops). "Backstabbers" featured some visually stunning dance moves and the audience reveled at the sight as the group built the dramatic tension to a high point -- group founder Cushney Roberts' leap from the stage into the audience, still in song and dance mode. The Drifters' "Up On The Roof" featured smooth soul singing with the nearly full audience in a swoon. David Prescott hit high marks in sound with the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New". The Temptations' "Just My Imagination" with it's dreamy lyrics and melody showcased a nice electric guitar solo by James Davis that was complemented by the string section of the orchestra. Tex Richardson on grand piano and keyboards provided a warm textural component to the overall sound of the night as the orchestrater of the music. They closed with the sing-a-long "My Girl" (Temptations) and a rhythmically rousing "Can't Help Myself" (Four Tops). A standing ovation led to an encore, "Soul Man" (Sam and Dave).

Happy 50th Anniversary, Motown!