Smokey Robinson at Green Hall article

Smokey Robinson stirs up a Quiet Storm at Green Music Hall

75 year old pioneer of Motown is still the ‘Genius of Love’

“No one can sing, quite like Smokey, Smokey Robinson” penned by the pop-funk band “The Tom-Tom Club” for their 1981 hit ‘Genius of Love’ remains a valid ode to the Hall of Fame inductee.

On September 4, 2015, William ‘Smokey’ Robinson performed before a sold out crowd at the newly constructed Green Music Center on the campus of Sonoma State University in Petaluma, California.

The founding father of the “Detroit Sound” stepped on stage garbed in a green metallic suit kicked off the sold out show with the 1961 hit “Tears of a Clown”.

Robinson, wearing that solid gold grin, crooned his way through the opening tune written by Stevie Wonder and made famous by Smokey and his Miracles.

Singers of Robinson’s popularity are in a rare group of entertainers; a majority of their jobs on stage are accomplished by the audience. The sold out crowd of 4,261, composed primarily of those in the Woodstock demographic, were singing every lyric in motley harmony.

Smokey and his band upped the tempo with another hit “Going to a Go-Go”; the baby boomers joined in the fun dancing all over the grassy dancefloor, “The white man’s overbite” replacing “The Monkey” and “The Mashed Potato” respectively.

Robinson slowed things down with yet another Motown chart topper “Ooh baby baby” which he delivered in a tempo that resembled a Sony Walkman low on AA batteries.

Fellow Motown label mate Martha Reeves told Rolling Stone Magazine in their 100 greatest singers of all time issue, “With his tone and delivery, you could easily fall in love with Smokey”

Some of the female spectators seemed like they would have given Reeves statement an “Amen” as they hooted like a flock of drunken owls.

The only “Vegas” moment in the 95 minute performance came when Smokey’s background dancers pulled out umbrellas under the stars of a muggy summer night, put on raincoats whilst Robinson sang “Quiet Storm” as the dancers wiggled all over the stage. Wisconsin has never witnessed more cheese production.

Besides the silly Las Vegas moment, the performance was chocked with outstanding singing and phrasing from the most inimitable voice in pop music.

34 years after the Tom-Tom Club hit, Smokey Robinson proved in he is in fact ‘The Genius of Love”.

 

D.A. Medina

 

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