Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 26, 2013

Spectrum- Motown and R&B Retrospective

Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield, MA
February 23, 2013
by Eric Sutter

In a tribute to "The Sound of Young America," the Las Vegas group Spectrum presented Motown hits and a river of R&B melodies. Perhaps surprisingly yet delightfully, Motown is completely adaptable to the sound of a symphony. Love and romance was in the air as the Symphony Orchestra Orchestra introduced the group with an instrumental prelude of the Temptations' "Get Ready."

Four incredible singers combined their glorious voices to "The Way You Do the Things You Do" which featured blissful choreography of breathless spins in glittered black and white suited splendor. The formally dressed guest conductor Matthew Kramer looked sharp and up to the task of keeping everything in synchronized harmony. A high benchmark was David Prescott's falsetto take on Smokey Robinson's doo wop "Ooo Baby, Baby." The quartet segued into a smooth as velvet acapella "Have You Seen Her" by the Chi-Lites. Rhythms synched to the Righteous Brothers and Four Tops medleys. The first half of the concert ended with the horn section's pumped up volume to the Spinners propulsively vocalized "Rubberband Man."

After intermission, the SSO string section swelled the hall with the lovely "Reach Out, I'll Be There," accompanying the sharp blue and white jacketed group finger poppin' to the beat. During "Backstabbers," Cushney Roberts leaped of the stage, singing into the aisle simultaneously with dance spins twirled on stage by the group. Another musical peak was Prescott's high notes in "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me." The smooth sound of The Drifters doo wop soul floated "Up On The Roof." The audience was captured. All four singers soloed, but their harmony perfect Stylistics medley of "You Are Everything" and "You Make Me Feel Brand New" were especially exquisite. A tasteful rendition of the refined "Just My Imagination" featured the string section and a stirring guitar solo. The simple gem, "My Girl," caught the audience in song as the words and music glided through Symphony Hall as people smiled at each other. The Four Tops closer, "I Can't Help Myself," was a cream of the crop Motown sing and dance-along. The audience demanded more. The group encored with "Soul Man."