By: Mark Harriman, Senior Editor
LINCOLN (November 26)- As he warmed up last Saturday afternoon at the Twin River Event Center, Smokey Robinson decided that his maiden voyage to Rhode Island should be one to remember and added an extra half hour to his normal 90 minute show.
Well, the King of Motown certainly did not disappoint the sold-out crowd of Baby Boomers and devotees, adding even 10 minutes more than he planned to his elongated set of 19 classics and new material.
As one female fan aptly opined after the show, “If you like Smokey Robinson, you certainly got your fix tonight.”
Robinson is celebrating his 50th Anniversary at Motown Records, which coincided with the label’s founding. A self-described songwriter rather than a singer, he has authored more than 4,000 songs in his career, written for legends like The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops and Stevie Wonder.
Standing in front of an adoring crowd of fifty-somethings that dominated the audience, the Detroit native soulfully recreated many of his hits in that silky smooth voice that has not lost any of its soft edges after six decades in front of the microphone.
Robinson opened the show – clad in a spiffy green silk jacket- with a string of standards from Going to A Go-Go, I Second That Emotion and You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me to a re-arranged Ooo Baby Baby, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Get Ready and an energetic My Girl.
Robinson also seamlessly mixed in a sampling of his favorites from his most recent CD’s “Now and Then” and “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun,” including Nora Jones’ Don’t Know Why. He also reached back to his 2006 CD “Timeless Love” for his renditions of Fly Me to The Moon and I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.
Robinson connected well with the audience all night, particularly when he donned a pair of tight red leather pants and the requisite puffy white shirt, and the room showed its appreciation by belting out every word to Tracks of My Tears.
He closed the act with an extended version of Cruisin’ where the audience gladly played along with his entertaining competition for the loudest chorus of ‘I love it when we’re cruising together.’
When Robinson cruised into Twin River he certainly gave his Ocean State fans a show to remember.