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Smokey Robinson

Reviewed June 19, 1992.

With:
Band: Larry Ball, Tony Lewis, Robert Bowles, Marv Tarplin, David Li, Chris Ho, Ivory Stone, Robert Henley, Ron Henley, Patricia Henley.

Reviewed June 19, 1992.

Motown 101 was in session at the Greek Theater Friday night as Smokey Robinson thrilled an enthusaistic crowd with a performace that mixed medleys and full overtures with tales of his experiences in the famous era.

Backed by his top-notch band and a 12-piece orchestra of L.A.-based musicians (Robinson noted that they will recruit that city’s finest string players at every tour stop) the singer-songwriter-producer-industry executive split his set between turnes from his debut SBK disc “Double Good Everything,” and his gem-filled repertoire, enthralling the baby-boomer-filled house at every turn.

Although at times the show smacked of Vegas-like trappings (thankfully, the venue foyer didn’t have booths hawking his recently launched, eponymous perfume) , his skill at songcrafting is undeniable and his ability to work a room is first rate.

It’s unfortunate that this new disc has lacked any significant chart action since its release, as the album showcases a progressive artist, rather than a one resting on his laurels.

While most of the tracks lack the qualities to make them standards like earlier tunes “Being With You” and the Grammy-winning “Just to See Her,” there’s no doubt that songs “I Love Your Face” and “Be Who You Are” are, at the very least, probably being played at weddings nationwide, bringing a new generation of Smokey fans into the fold.

Smokey Robinson

(Greek Theater; 6,187 seats; $ 27 top)

Production: Promoted by Nederlander.

Cast: Band: Larry Ball, Tony Lewis, Robert Bowles, Marv Tarplin, David Li, Chris Ho, Ivory Stone, Robert Henley, Ron Henley, Patricia Henley.

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