During the 1960s, Martha Reeves was one damn smokin’ mama. Four decades later, she’s just damn old. This 2005 concert, filmed at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Palace in Orlando, Florida, finds the former Motown queen gamely but vainly attempting to resurrect the old magic.
Alas, time has not been kind to Reeves as a performer. Her voice is long past its prime and she often seems disconnected to the music. Her back-up singers (it is not clear whether they are the original Vandellas or just anonymous support) are even more tired: they remain seated on bar stools during the whole act. Reeves gamely tries to energize her performance by slapping a tambourine and doing a couple of Dervish-worthy twirls. But even the most nostalgic fans will be forced to realize it’s just not happening.
This concert was apparently on the short side (“Dancing in the Street” is repeated twice), so “special guest star” Sam Moore is brought out to perform a couple of his old hits (most notably “Soul Man”). As with Reeves, Moore is a considerable vocal distance from his glory days and the result is fairly grim.
Fans of Reeves and Moore should stick with the oldies radio line-up and the memories of the stars in their heyday. This enervated presentation is fairly depressing.