Edinburgh Festival 2013: Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Wednesday 07 August 2013
Perhaps the best analogy for the Martha Reeves live experience is the city which made her, Detroit: both still iconic, both now diminished from their past lives.
The sometime city councilwoman talks of her home with a mixture of affection and effacement, glittering in a sequinned dress to match the chandelier in the Assembly Rooms’ magnificent Music Hall. “We always gotta do things big,” she says, wryly amused. “We had the biggest record company and the biggest bankruptcy in the world.”
Sold out to an expectant audience demanding a good time, this was certainly a big show, although the voice leading it didn’t quite reach the same scale as legend might have it. Now 72 years old (“yes, I am a cougar,” she joked to wild applause), Reeves can’t quite hit the high notes like before, adding a tremulous quality to her voice when she tries to do so that’s most pronounced on early tracks like "In My Lonely Room" and "Come and Get These Memories".
Performing with a skilled eight-piece band but no backing singers, the iconic hits "Nowhere to Run" and "(Love is Like a) Heat Wave" were conducted in tandem with an overjoyed audience, her voice best served by the lower-register croon of No One There or the horn-stabbing direct quality of "Watch Your Back". Calling out Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Cilla Black by boldly informing them "Dancing in the Street" is “my song”, she carried the show on force of personality alone.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt gives intriguing performance as unsympathetic war hero
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage