Motown tunes hit holidays
As I write, it is not yet December. Still, the holiday rush is in full force. It's not simply decorations or traffic; it's the panicked look on people's faces as they run -- literally -- from store to store. With the rush in high gear, it's easy to get a bad case of the holiday blues. But, no worries, the Honolulu Symphony Pops has the cure.
The Honolulu Symphony Pops, with the Four Tops and the Spinners:
» In concert: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
» Place: Blaisdell Arena
» Tickets: $14 to $79; 50 percent discount for military; 20 discount for seniors and students
» Call: 792-2000 (days) or 524-0815, ext. 245 (evenings), or visit Ticketmaster outlets or www.honolulusymphony.com
» Also: Bring a toy for Toys for Tots and receive a 20 percent discount on a future concert.
This weekend's "Motown Christmas" concerts are a chance to escape the holiday panic and reconnect with the musical spirit of the season. This year we're combining pop and R&B hits with classic holiday songs in a double bill that aims to please, as we welcome music legends the Four Tops and the Spinners.
One of the biggest groups on the Motown scene, the Four Tops climbed the charts with great songs such as "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)," "Bernadette," "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "Standing in the Shadows of Love." Their sound and style came of age during the years that saw groups like the Supremes and the Temptations hit the big time as well.
Fans of '70s music will recognize the Spinners' signature, polished sound immediately. Founded at Ferndale High School in suburban Detroit, the Spinners -- or, as they're sometimes known, the Detroit Spinners -- are famous for songs like "Working My Way Back to You," "One of a Kind (Love Affair)," "I'll Be Around" and "Then Came You" (with the great Dionne Warwick).
The Spinners spent part of the '60s signed to the Motown label and its spinoff, V.I.P. But they didn't hit it big until they moved to Atlantic Records in 1972 at the suggestion of Aretha Franklin. Working with songwriter Thom Bell, the Spinners became one of the hottest groups of the decade.
If you've not heard the music of these groups in a few years, think of the concert as a gathering of old friends. Original members of both are still part of their lineups, making the Tops and the Spinners two of the most enduring groups in American music history.
If you grew up in the '70s, you'll be singing along in no time. And if your parents grew up in the '70s, this is your chance to get to know your folks a little better. Bring the whole family: "Motown Christmas" will appeal to all ages.
Music on the radio is one thing. Music anthologies are another. Hearing the Four Tops and the Spinners perform live with a symphony orchestra is a whole new experience. Their music is carefree, smile-inducing magic and guaranteed to spread holiday cheer.
conducts the Honolulu Symphony Pops. "Crescendo" appears on the Monday before each concert in the season. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org