The Temptations and Four Tops in Clearwater: Classic Motown and Holiday Favorites

The Four Tops

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Review: The Temptations and Four Tops-Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater – December 10, 2021

The Four Tops

Usually during the holidays, one is feeling reflective and nostalgic. Having been raised in Metro Detroit, the sound of Motown is in my fiber. The decision to attend The Temptations and Four Tops concert in Clearwater, Florida was a “no brainer”.

On Friday evening at Ruth Eckerd Hall, it appeared to be a full house of Baby Boomers, with many dressed to the nines in smart jackets and sequined blouses. I chatted with the ladies sitting next to me that confessed they had seen the bands several times and follow the “oldies” bands on nostalgia music cruise circuit.  One confessed she was afraid the cruises would end in the future as band members “disappear”. It was just today that we lost the talented Michael Nesmith, whom Rock At Night reviewed in mid-October.

Abdul “The Duke” Fakir – The Four Tops

A full 15-person band, complete with a horn and rhythm section, backed both The Temptations and later The Four Tops during Friday evening. The Temptations had everyone singing along and chair dancing to gems like “Ball of Confusion”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, and “Can’t Get Next to You”.

The sweet, melancholy “I Wish It Would Rain” brought flashes of lightning and thunder.  During the performance of “Just My Imagination”,  one member bent down on the stage to hand the microphone to a man in the first row how sang the lyric “A cozy little home out in the country with two children maybe three.”

A memorable moment was when founding member Otis “Big Daddy” Williams noted he was 80 years old on October 30th and it is the band’s 60th Anniversary. He reflected on how Motown had the most #1 hits of major labels like Warner Brothers and it was a hot bed of creativity due to Berry Gordy. He explained, “Berry Gordy hired people to do artist development—teach us how to be in show business.” One important advice he gave the artists was “You can’t tell anybody about politics, religion, and how to spend their money.” He continued, “They taught us a lot—also off stage, as well. And, so we are now here 60 years later.”

Williams introduced the band’s new single “Is It Going to Be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” written by legend and former Temptations member Smokey Robinson.  After performing the soulful melody, Williams introduced the band’s current Terry Weeks, Willie Greene, Jr., Ron Tyson, and Mario Corbino.  One member pointed out the Broadway musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” is based on Williams’ memoir.  Before ending with The Temptations’ most famous song “My Girl”, the “newest member” Tony Grant came on stage to sing lead.

The Four Tops

Next up, The Four Tops, which features original member Abdul “The Duke” Fakir, performed “Bernadette”, “It’s the Same Old Song”, as well as Christmas tunes.  The 85-year-old Fakir relayed the story of how “I Believe in You and Me” which was recorded by the band in the 1980s but later made famous by Whitney Houston in the mid-1990s.

Possibly the favorite Four Tops songs performed during the evening were “Standing in the Shadows of Love” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”. Overall, it was an evening of Motown memories and a special way to end the year.

**No photos of The Temptations were permitted.

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The Four Tops

Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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