Smokey Robinson may be the sexiest senior citizen on the planet. The Motown legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer made a case for that distinction on Feb. 21, at least, as he headlined the Emerald Queen Casino two days after his 74th birthday.
The Poet Laureate of Soul made his entrance sporting a spiffy, gold suit and his falsetto honey sweet as he eased into his set with his 1981 hit “Being With You.” He’d ditched his jacket and tie by the time he tackled tunes he wrote for the Temptations, and his neckline gradually dove to Tom Jones depths.
Backed by his 9-piece band, Robinson strutted, shimmied and gyrated through his biggest hits, albeit, a bit slower than he used to. He pointed dramatically into the crowd, hypnotizing unsuspecting female fans with his sparkly, green-eyed gaze; and by the end of the night he was rubbing his bare chest, in the throes of ecstasy. No, your grandpa can’t pull this off, not even with a makeover and a satchel full of Viagra. But we’re talking Smokey Robinson here, a guy who’s been getting lovers in the mood since the Kennedy Administration – like a boss.
The Motown legend drops by Tacoma about once a year, if not at the E.Q., at the Puyallup Fair; and elements of his set seemed strangely familiar, right down to his jokes, which included a swaying impression of Stevie Wonder, a guy he recalled as his partner in crime for “Tears of a Clown.” But familiarity was not a problem for a crowd being treated to some of the most iconic cuts in American pop history.
He drenched fans with “Quiet Storm.” He lifted their spirits with “My Girl.” And he invited them to a “feel good competition” with “Cruisin’.” He milked that, the night’s final selection, for more than 10 sweltering minutes, inviting a pair of women onstage to lead competing halves of the crowd in belting out its iconic refrain. “I loooooooove it when we’re cruisin’ together.” I challenge anyone to not be in a good mood following a Smokey Robinson show.
Visit http://www.BillBungard.com for more images from Friday's show.
Set list: Being With You; I Second That Emotion; You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me; Quiet Storm; Ooo Baby Baby; The Way You Do the Things You Do (Temptations); Get Ready (Temptations); My Girl (Temptations); The Tears of a Clown; In Other Words (a.k.a. Fly Me to the Moon, Bart Howard); Love Bath; That Place; Just to See Her; The Tracks of My Tears; Cruisin’