Legendary quartet brings hits and memories to Waimea
In many ways, last Sunday’s Spinners concert at the Kahilu Theatre felt like a throwback to the “old days.” Ushers hustled folks to their seats minutes before showtime. The bar in the lobby reopened. And recent pandemic capacity restrictions were lifted, which enabled the venue to sell out, an event that hasn’t happened in over two years.
In the front row, a lady told me she and her husband came to the show to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary when The Spinners had their first American number one R&B hit with “I’ll Be Around.”
The vocal group featured baritone Jesse Robert Peck, tenor Marvin Taylor, high tenor Ronnie Moss, and CJ Jefferson, co-lead singer and newest member for Sunday’s concert. Original member Henry Fambrough (83) was reportedly ill and remained home. Fambrough has been singing with the Detroit-based quintet since 1954 and is the last original member. The quartet gave a special shout-out to him during the show.
In our pre-concert interview, singer Jesse Peck noted why the group’s popularity has continued for over a half-century. “Our music comes from a simpler and happier time and is filled with love, great lyrics, and many memories. When you hear a Spinners’ song, you can’t help but go back to yesteryear and think about that first kiss, the first time you scraped your knee, or you’re a mom and dad loving on you. There are lots of beautiful things in our music.”
The quartet entered the stage impeccably dressed in matching white suits and dazzled us with their synchronized moves and rich harmonies. Individually they took turns to physically connect with the audience by reaching out to hold a hand or leave the stage to sing to an individual fan.
They were backed up by The Spinners’ Ensemble, a tight four-piece band featuring Rocky Henton (guitar), Ibrahim Jones (bass), David Brandon (drums), and Keith Ferguson (bandleader/keyboards).
The Spinners played all their classic hits like “Working My Way Back to You,” “Games People Play,” and “It’s A Shame,” the group’s biggest hit for Motown Records and co-written by Stevie Wonder.
Seated elbow-to-elbow, most of the crowd raised their arms to the music while the brave ones danced in the aisles like the lady dressed in a silver lamé top.
The group had some fun midway through the show with individual member introductions. Marvin Taylor gave us a snippet of his best Marvin Gaye (“Let’s Get It On”), and Jessie Peck did seductive moves to Morris Day and the Time’s “Jungle Love.”
The fast-paced 74-minute show ended with the crowd favorite “The Rubberband Man.” The group danced around with huge white elastic bands while Kahilu staff members desperately tried to place leis on them. The group then shot the “rubber bands” out to the crowd to eager reaching hands.
With everyone standing and shouting for an encore, and there was plenty of time for one, the group didn’t return to the stage. It was a well-produced show that the island hadn’t seen in a long time. We just wanted more of it.
The Spinners tour schedule is booked through the first half of 2023. Their latest CD is titled Around the Block and Back Again, and they’ll be releasing a new CD this Summer.
Listen to an interview with members Jesse Robert Peck and Ronnie Moss.
Notes & Links
Instrumental greatest hits medley | Could It Be I’m Falling in Love | It’s a Shame | Funny How Time Slips Away | I’ll Be Around | Working My Way Back to You | Sadie | Mighty Love | Cupid |Then Came You | One of a Kind (Love Affair) | They Just Can’t Stop It (The Games People Play) | The Rubberband Man |
Concert date: 24/April/2022
Photos: ©2022 Steve Roby. All rights reserved.
About the author: Steve Roby is a music journalist and editor of Big Island Music Magazine. You can also find his work in West Hawaii Today.