PREVIEW — Forever Motown in Modesto

There was a time, not all that long ago, when I wouldn’t have come within miles of Forever Motown, a critically-acclaimed tribute show that’s coming to the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto this Sunday, November 3. Its been selling out venues nationwide.

But I’m from Detroit, you see. The Motor City. Born and raised. And there was a time that I only wanted to see the real deal if I was going to a Motown show. I had no time or patience for what I then thought of as a faux Four Top or a pseudo Supreme. Give me Diana Ross or give me death, I’d have told you.

Then, just a handful of years ago, Motown: The Musical changed my mind and my heart, and left me dancing in the aisles — and the streets! — in San Francisco. That show was a rollicking production that wow’d Broadway before embarking on a multi-year, cross-country tour. With not a single original Motown artist, Motown: The Musical’s brilliant cast captured all of the verve of the legendary Motowntown Revues from the 1960s.

And just like The Temptations, I wasn’t too proud to beg..for more. I went on to see that show three times. It was incredible!

With Motown: The Musical’s “Berry Gordy” and “Diana Ross.” Clifton Oliver and Allison Semmes, San Francisco, 2014. Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications.

This weekend’s Forever Motown show in Modesto appears to be a hybrid of sorts. While the concert will feature the legendary G.C.Cameron, one of the original lead singers of The Spinners, most of its artists aren’t the headliners that the world came to love during the legendary record label’s heyday.

The show’s press materials mention that “an original lead singer of The Temptations” will take the stage. As Tempts fans can be reasonably sure it won’t be David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, or Dennis Edwards, we therefore know that he’ll have his work cut out for him Sunday afternoon.

I’m told that former members of The Marvelettes will share the stage with him. Let’s hope they’re able to carry the torch for the ladies from the hamlet of Inkster, Michigan who went on to put Motown on the map with the label’s first #1 single, “Please Mr. Postman.”

It’s probably too much to ask for a Motown show with headliners from the good ol’ days. Of them, only Ross, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder are still with us and performing.

But as Motown: The Musical taught me, Motown is more than just the architects of that glorious sound: it’s a feeling, a pulse, a movement, “The Sound of Young America.”

And with Forever Motown, that unmistakable, eternal sound is coming to Modesto this weekend.

You couldn’t keep me from the Gallo Center if you tried.

Click here for tickets to this weekend’s Forever Motown show at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto.

Published by Michael P Coleman

Freelance writer. I used to get punished for talking to strangers. Now I get paid for it.

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