Mahaiwe: Temptations are the real thing


GREAT BARRINGTON -- There are vocal groups and Doo-wop groups all over the world. But there is still nothing like a Temptations concert.

The Temps presented a 17-song, 86-minute show to a sold-out audience at the Mahaiwe Theater on Sunday night. Their celebrated dance moves and superb five-part harmonies were on full display.

But as Otis Williams, the last original member from the 60s pointed out in an interview a few days before the show, "It's the material that stands up to this day."

Indeed. The Temps may have written and performed several albums worth of music since those fondly remembered days in the 1960s. But they know what their audience wants to hear.

Following "This Christmas" in deference to the holidays, the fellows went on a 1960s-to-early-1970s run that had the audience howling with joy.

Beginning with "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" to "The Way You Do the Things You Do" to "Ball Of Confusion" to "I Wish It Would Rain" to "Poppa Was a Rolling Stone" to "Can't Get Next to You," the hits literally kept on coming all night.

Now to one of the main questions: With only one member left, how can the new guys be as good as the originals?

Depends on your point of view. Most of the "old guys" are either retired or dead, so good luck hoping for that scenario. Also, the new guys are good. Real good. If there's a better lead singer than Ron Tyson Presson, I want to hear him. Presson, who's been in the band for a mere 30 years, was belting out the Eddie Kendricks-David Ruffin parts with more oomph! in some cases than those celebrated vocalists.

Bass Joe Herndon, an eight-year Temp, is another great, great vocalist as is Terry Weeks and Bruce Williamson. It's a strong lineup and why not? If Otis Williams called you to sing in one of the great Motown groups ever, would you say no? Doubtful. This is the cream of the crop.

So too, were the Berkshire Horns, the local musicians recruited by the Temps to fatten up their sound. For the record, the lineup was Jeff Stevens, Micah Maurio and Alex Lee-Clark on trumpets; Don Mikkelson and Dave Wampler on trombones; and Charlie Tokarz, Bruce Krasin, Noah Weiss, Frank Newton and Matt Schumer on saxophones. An all-star night.


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