Fez - Legendary Motown singing group The Temptations Review performed at Bab al Makina in the Fes Medina Thursday getting the audience on its feet to dance to the group’s old classics.
Fez – Legendary Motown singing group The Temptations Review performed at Bab al Makina in the Fes Medina Thursday getting the audience on its feet to dance to the group’s old classics.
Fans flocked to Bab al Makina to catch the Temptations Review in their cameo main-stage appearance in the World Sacred Music Festival on Thursday. The concert was a lively reprise of many of the group’s classic hits, with leader Dennis Edwards, who replaced the legendary David Ruppen in 1968, getting the audience to sing along in a traditional (in the sense of both American gospel and Moroccan popular music) call and response.
Edwards talked in a press conference beforehand about the group’s foundation back in the U.S. in the 1960s. The group won the very first Grammy award for Motown with the hit Cloud 9.
“I’ve been doing this for 50 years,” Edwards said. “The only disadvantage is that I still have to dance and do the moves [at my age], and sometimes I have to sit down. But fortunately right now I have the son of one of the original members singing with me, Paul Williams, Jr., and he can do the moves. I’m blessed to have had a long career.”
Asked about the how the Temptations got their name, he said, “We were a young group of singers in Motown. We tried to figure out how to stand apart from the other groups. We decided to do choreography and dance as well as the singing. We decided to use the name “The Temptations,” for being one of the greatest groups in the world. But a group in New York already had the name, so we bought it from them.”
What is the group’s message to the world? Our message is about striving for “being excellent,” he said. “Being called The Temptations stands for being the greatest group.”
Asked about how it feels to be in Morocco for the first time, Edwards said, “I looked out of my balcony today and it looks like a history class. Every place I go I take a little bit with me and take it back to my kids. There are good people here and it’s good place.” He added, “I love the temperature. I’m a singer, and the temperature here is good for my voice.”
Asked how the Temptations fit into a sacred music festival, Barry responded simply, “We’re a sacred group.” He explained that, “When we were founded, people were poor and without hope, and we gave people hope.” He continued, “Before every concert we join hands and pray. Tonight we are going to make it a spiritual concert.”
Talking about some of the challenges the group has faced over the last 50 years, he said, “When you’re with a group, it’s all about hard work and making it to the top. But the Most difficult part is when you make it to the top. So many things try to break you apart. People leave for whatever reasons, people die. One of the things Paul Williams told me is that, the game is still the same. Just the players change. The music stays the same; we just bring in new players and try to make it better.”
He goes on, “Singing with the original group was the thrill of my life. Now we are so close to the original group – we close our eyes and it feels like they are there on stage with us.”
He noted with regret that the group lost all of its bags in Paris with all of their fancy costumes. But, as he said, “The show must go on, and one thing for sure,” he added, “We are going to sing great tonight.”
And they did. Although they appeared on stage only in black t-shirts and sweatpants instead of their usual colorful regalia, they gave one of their typical high energy, fast moving, performances, complete with their trademark choreography and moves, and a reprise of many old favorites, including Aint too Proud to Beg, Ball of Confusion, Treat her Like a Lady, My Girl, and Papa was a Rolling Stone. They also paid tribute to and remembered four departed members with a moment of silence.
Although a few raindrops began to fall as they sang “Rainy Night in Georgia,” thankfully, the rain stayed away for the duration of the concert, and the audience was not disappointed.
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