Friday, May 17, 2013

The Four Tops: My Evening with Motown Legends

The Four Tops:My Evening With Motown Legends

I am beyond THRILLED and HONORED to share with you this post about the evening I spent at The Ryman Auditorium with Motown Legends, The Four Tops!

(Picture of me on my way to see The Four Tops & Temptations in Concert)

The Legendary Four Tops broke onto the Motown music scene in Detroit. Michigan in 1953 with original members Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton. When you talk about Longevity in the music industry, this group is the very definition of that!

 The Four Tops in 1968. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Even though I wasn't even thought of in the 1950's and 1960's, I am totally obsessed with Motown music, the Motown story and everything about the Motown era of music! So much talent came out of Detroit, MI during the early years of Motown. Did you know that Berry Gordy started the Motown label with an $800 loan from his family? How cool is that?!?!?

The Four Tops and Temptations were in concert together at The Ryman Auditorium in April 2013

As I blogged about in a recent post, my big cousin, Mr Robie Nichols, has been the wardrobe manager for The Four Tops for almost 14 years and is the one to credit with all the snazzy, jazzy outfits that The Four Tops wear during performances! He does that and so much more, as I learned from hanging out with him backstage during their recent concert at The Ryman Auditorium.

 My cousin Robie is one of those people who never meets a stranger! Just one conversation with him will leave you in stitches because he is so darn hilarious...He could make a living as a comedian...Seriously!

 It took a couple of shots for me to properly look at the mirror instead of the camera but, I finally got it right LOL!

This is a pic of my Big Cuz and I in The Four Tops dressing room backstage at the Ryman Auditorium

First, let me tell you about the great food that the Musical Groups and their crews are treated to....AMAZING! Stage Left Catering provided this great spread for the groups. The last time I was back stage with my cousin for  The Four Tops and Temptations concert at the Ryman Auditorium, Stage Left Catering had a great spread as well so I was definitely looking forward to it again this time around! Stage Left Catering is owned by Jim LeClaire,  an Executive Chef with more than 30 years experience in high profile catering throughout the United States.

This is an excerpt from the Stage Left Catering website " Although our company is only three years old, we are already a stand out throughout the entertainment industry in Nashville.  That’s because Stage Left Catering is owned and operated by dedicated and exceptional chef, Jim LeClaire, with more than 30 years experience in high profile catering throughout the United States.  Stage Left Catering isn’t just his business or his livelihood - it’s his passion, and that passion is unmistakably present at every event.  It’s reflected in every morsel and every minute detail."

The Beef Brisket was awesome.....It had an amazing smoky flavor!

Turkey & Dressing...Makes you feel at home!


Creamed corn, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy

I certainly could not forget the chocolate cake!

 All for me...Yummy!

(Left) Winston Sawyer of Windy City Coaches, <---He has been the tour bus driver for The Four Tops for over 40 years! Robie Nichols, (Center) Wardrobe Manager for The Four Tops, Carl "Butch" Small (Right) - Lead Percussionist Extraordinaire for The Four Tops and countless other famous music artists

 Backstage at the Ryman Auditorium: Looking out as concert-goers are starting to come in.....

 Let The Show Begin!

The Legendary Temptations have taken the stage!!

Check out the Temptations outfits...Pretty sweet!

The Temptations are rockin' the stage!

I snagged my picture with the Four Tops as they were leaving the dressing room to head out onto the stage. It's SHOWTIME!

I know the pic is a little flash was doing its thang LOL!
 The Four Tops: Ronnie McNeir, Roquel "Rokie" Payton, Harold "Spike" Bonhart,  (ME),  Duke Fakir

I was jammin' right along with them backstage!

 Singing the classics like "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" and "It's The Same Old Song"

How's this for a prom pose LOL?!?!?  Four Tops member, Ronnie McNeir, has been a powerful force in the music industry for a long time!

Talk bout a Music Legend....Mr "Duke" Fakir is the last living, original member of The Four Tops. He has been performing/writing/producing with this group since 1953!!!! WOW!

The Four Tops entertaining the crowds!

 Now this is some good "sangin"! Yes, there is a difference between "singing" and "sangin'!!

The Four Tops Band playing for the crowds

This evening presented me with so many lessons in music history ( I just LOVE this stuff). Here's a signed poster of singer Marian Anderson in the Dressing Room! 

I'm traditionally not a "mirror picture taker" but, come on.....I'm in a Dressing Room glittered in beauty lights and mirrors at The Legendary Ryman Auditorium!!! I just can't help myself!

--Dr. April

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