April 6th – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in Bournemouth   Leave a comment


Over the last few years I been to a number of musical concerts, some like Muse (seen in London), Jessie J and Labyrinth (seen at the IOW) have been relatively modern bands but others like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Steeeleye Span and Leonard Cohen harp back to the days of my youth. Having greatly enjoyed these ‘blasts from the pasts’ it was with some anticipation that we attended a concert by Motown legend Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and  Manchester soul band, The Foundations at Bournemouth Pavilion on Sunday – however we came away rather disappointed.

Martha Reeves’ backing band was excellent but the three singers were often out of time, were unable to harmonise and totally failed to connect with the audience. I wasn’t the only one who felt let down, at least a quarter of the audience walked out, but I refused to leave until I had heard them do ‘Dancing in the Street’ as a finale. Some of the numbers were done well, but some were just dreadful.

The support act, The Foundations, were much better. Only the singer Clem Curtis remains from the original lie-up of the 60’s soul band  He might be 74 but he can still belt out some great numbers. The only downside was the drums, the base drum produced a wooden thump that not only drowned the rest of the drum kit but at times drowned out the entire band. However they were well appreciated with most of the ‘rather mature’ audience getting up to dance, especially during the numerous encores.

This does raise the question of whether it is worthwhile going to see musicians and former stars who might now be in their late sixties or seventies. Sure it’s a great nostalgia trip but that is of little value if the music is crap. However I feel that this indifferent concert an exception.  Crosby, Stills and Nash could harmonise just like they did at Woodstock, Steeleye Span interpreted British folk songs with the same flair that they did when I first saw them in 1969 and Leonard Cohen, now over 80, was much, much better than when I saw him in the early seventies.

With concerts by blues legend John Mayall and Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ already booked for later this year I certainly hope that this concert was the exception that proves the rule.





Martha Reeves and the Vandellas at the Bournemouth Pavilion.



Photo of Martha and Vandellas

Martha and the Vandellas in 1964 – the sound track to my early teens!


The Foundations in the late sixties. Only singer Clem Curtis remains in the current line up. I was a big fan of Motown and Soul up to about 1968 when thanks to the influence of my old friend Nigel, I switched my allegiance to ‘progressive rock’ and got into Jimi Hendrix, the Nice and Pink Floyd.


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