It's easy to understand why Motown opted not to release these 1970 and 1972 live recordings at the time.
There are simply too many microphone malfunctions and mixing mistakes, reducing "I Want You Back", for instance, to little more than bass guitar and Michael's lead vocal. For all that, the group's sheer exuberance shines through brightly, particularly at the first show, with their early hits bulked out by funky covers of Sly Stone and Traffic songs, and Michael outstanding on Stevie Wonder's "I Don't Know Why". His intro to "Who's Lovin' You" stretches credulity, the pre-pubescent pipsqueak claiming "Don't nobody know the blues like I know" – but then darned if he doesn't tear up the song in a way which shows he's done his Sam Cooke homework.
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