Martha Reeves And The Vandellas, Concorde 2, Brighton, December 18

Martha Reeves, photo by Mike Burnell

Martha Reeves, photo by Mike Burnell

First published in The Critic by

Nostalgia can be an odd thing. A few weeks’ ago I watched an old television programme I loved as a child. Despite being filled with the memories of my youth, I discovered it was actually pretty terrible – boring and formulaic. Time can be a great revealer as much as a healer.

And so, with this in mind, it was with some trepidation I stood waiting for the legendary Martha Reeves, queen of soul and Motown.

That voice I heard through records at home could penetrate any bad mood and get me dancing (not so much in the street as in the bedroom) but the former councillor is now past 70.

Enter the Alabama daughter, clad in an outrageous orange and red sparkly dress, and queue the brass – suddenly all doubt was gone.

Of course the voice wasn’t the same as that 24-year-old with nowhere to run but it was still powerful and tender at her whim. And for crowd-pleasing, all those years in the business shone with the audience, many of a similar vintage, delirious as she worked through hits such as Heatwave, Quicksand and Jimmy Mack.

There was even time for some festive cheer with a soulful Silent Night rendition – another legend that has stood the test of time.

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