New Temptations serve as flashback to legendary group's heydey
MOORHEAD – Forty-five years after the group’s prime, Otis Williams remains the only surviving founding member of The Temptations. His voice isn’t what it once was, and at 72 his moves are not as smooth, but the current lineup around him brought back the glory days of the vocal group Thursday night at Bluestem Amphitheater.
These new Temptations steamrolled through the hits in a 75-minute set that was streamlined enough for a casino show, but lively enough for the five-piece to have plenty of fun with the crowd of 1,410.
While the group now is a shadow of its former greatness, this lineup, like the Beach Boys earlier this summer, served as a more-than-suitable flashback to the legendary group’s heyday.
The singers took the stage to a spirited “Get Ready,” with Ron Tyson leading the group with a piercing, but never shrill falsetto.
The group was always known for their natty outfits and they didn’t disappoint, hitting the stage in white pants and shirts and black coats.
The group wouldn’t allow press to shoot the show, which was unfortunate since their stage presence is still entertaining. Sure, some members may not dip and slide as well as the others, and the claps may not be all spot on time, but the spirit is still there and the audience ate it up.
Especially when Bruce Willamson took to the front of the stage, as he did first on the oft-overlooked “Lady Soul.” Williamson was the most charismatic member of the group, frequently coaxing the crowd into singing along.
He also serves as the emotional heart of the group, singing with strength and soul. When he belted out “I Wish it Would Rain,” heartbreak seldom sounded so good. Similarly on “Ain’t too Proud to Beg,” a man on his knees can still sing with a lot of class.
The set served as a reminder of just how many hits the group scored and the mark they left. When they played “Just My Imagination,” you saw their influence not only on the Rolling Stones, but on Fargo’s own The Blenders and how they were inspired by song and dance acts like the Temptations.
All the members took their turn in the spotlight – though Terry Weeks’ was more as the flashiest dancer and ladies’ man, while Joe Herndon entertained with his deep bass. Crowds always dig the bass.
Williams explained he doesn’t often sing lead because he’s always been surrounded by such fine singers and when he took center stage on “For Your Love,” you understood why.
The group even showcased Fargo’s own Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome, whose horns backed the band. Williams singled lead saxophonist Russ Peterson out for his extended solo after “Can’t Get Next to You” for “playing some love music.”
The night was full of “love music” and when they closed with their signature tune, “My Girl,” and “I Know I’m Losing You,” they had the crowd falling in love all over again.