(Posted March 23, 2018)
at the Shenkman Arts Centre
By Fred Sherwin
you love the sweet soulful sounds of Smokey Robinson,
Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Marvin Gaye, or the in-your-face
soul of Jackie Wilson, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin
then the Shenkman Arts Centre was the place to be Thursday
Vegas tribute artist Grady Harrell headlined
the Motown Soul show at the Shenkman Arts
Centre on March 22 with The Tonettes. Fred
Productions brought their Motown Soul show to Orléans,
aka O-Town, featuring all three members of The Tonettes
and Las Vegas tribute artist Grady Harrell
Tonettes, who maybe best known as the women who provide
backing vocals for Elvis tribute artist Pete Paquette,
are Cathy Borges, Marlene O'Neil, and Amoy Levy.
they each have extremely powerful voices with repretoires
that run as deep as the Ottawa River, together they are
an absolute force of nature. Throw in the energetic shomanship
and chops of Las Vegas tribute artist Grady Harrell who
played Jackie Wilson in mini-series "The Jacksons:
An American Dream", and you have all the makings
of one magical night.
Tonettes kicked the evening off with four songs made famous
by Diana Ross and the Supremes - Ain't No Mountain
High Enough,You Keep Me Hangin' On, Baby
Love. and Stop In The Name of Love. They followed
that with a trio of Gladys Knight and the Pips songs including
Midnight Train to Georgia and I Heard It Through
the Grapevine. The latter served as an intro for Harrell
who started singing the Marvin Gaye version.
slipped on to the stage in a gold-sequined jacket that
was almost blinding depending on the angle ot the spot
lights. After Grapevine, Harrell burst into Jackie
Wilson's (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
like a ball of fire. He moved across the stage in the
same style as Wilson who was given the nickname "Mr.
Excitement", raising the energy level in the Harold
Shenkman Hall up a couple of notches.
he caught his breath, Harrell stuck with Wilson, singing
Lonely Tear Drops before tackling Sam Cooke's Bring
It On Home to Me. He closed out the first appearance
on stage with a set of songs made famous by Smokey Robinson
and the Miracles and the Temptations that included Get
Ready, Ain't Too Proud To Beg, My Girl,
and Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.
Harrell performs on stage with The Tonettes
at the Shenkman Arts Centre. Fred Sherwin/Photo
the high-paced set, the audience was allowed to catch
their breath while Levoy performed Etta James' At Last.
Afterwards she was rejoined on stage by the other Tonettes
for Da Doo Ron Ron by The Crystals.
a quick costume change Harrell also came on stage and
the four singers closed out the first half of the show
with Blame It On the Boogie by The Jacksons and
A Change Is Going To Come by Sam Cooke.
After s brief intermission, The Tonettes opened the second
set with Mary Wells' My Guy, Betty Everett's It's
In His Kiss, The Marvalettes' Mr. Postman, and
The Shirelles Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
the latter, The Tonettes left the stage to make way for
Harrell who broke into his James Brown persona for It's
A Man's World, Poppa's Got A Brand New Bag,
and I Feel Good. The former was one of the highlight's
of the night.
the James Brown set, it was The Tonettes turn to once
again take the satge. They opened with Etta James' I'd
Rather Go Blind followed by a series of songs by Aretha
Franklin that included Natural Woman, Think
then rejoined the girls in stage for the Marvin Gaye classic
What's Going On followed by an energetic version
of Do You Love Me by The Contours which left the
audience cheering for more.
an encore Harrell and The Tonettes decided to sing a reprisal
of Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
in all, the show was a highly entertaining two hours of
hit after hit after hit. It was nice to see the Tonettes
finally bring a show of their own to Orléans and
Grady Harrell lived up to his billing as a master showman.
you missed the concert, The Tonettes will return to the
Shenkman as part of a Legends show on June 13 with Buddy
Holly tribute artist Zachary Stevenson, Elvis tribute
artist Dean Z and Pete Paquette who will be performing
a set of hit songs from the 50s and 60s. For more informartion
or to purchase tickets visit www.paquetteproductions.com/shows
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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