“You wanna shake that thang, then shake it,” demands a sprightly (he bounces, he spins) Abdul “Duke” Fakir, the only remaining original Top. The 78-year-old tenor is resplendent in his sparkly suit accompanied by three “newbies” and a nine-strong brass section.
The Motown quartet deliver a vigorous, slick (apart from a slightly ill-judged cover of “My Way”) set of hits, including “Reach Out I'll Be There”, “Standing in the Shadows of Love”, “Bernadette” and, best of all, a packed arena roars its appreciation for “It's the Same Old Song”. A clearly emotional Fakir tells us “It could be the last time I'll be coming over here”, but the septuagenarian looks good for a few more tours yet.
Headliners The Temptations, sporting royal purple, always had a more invigorating and lyrically robust (even political) brand of soul and they get off to a blistering start with “Get Ready” and “Ain't Too Proud to Beg”.
Apart from some unnecessary, cruise-ship style banter (“All the ladies in the house” etc), the quintet, including original member Otis Williams (aged 72), are transcendent on exquisite hits such as “Can't Get Next to You”, “Ball of Confusion” and the fiercely evocative “Just My Imagination”, which sparks a stadium sing-along.
These soul songs will endure whoever's in the line-ups.