Smokey Robinson:Standing Room Only

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Well-known Member
Mar 2, 2002
Long considered to be one of of the most important components to Motown's early success, Smokey Robison is both a legendary performer and prolific songwriter whose compositions have been recorded by hundreds of other legendary artists including Marvin Gaye, Linda Ronstadt and The Temptations.

"Smokey Robinson: Standing Room Only", produced by Image Entertainment with a play time of 59 minutes was recorded from a live performance at the Bally's Grand Opera House in Atlantic City. I happened upon this music video while online searching for another video, so being a long time fan, I decided to give it a try.

The technical aspects of this disc are very good. Picture quality is excellent with cameras right on stage with the band. Editing is very good and keeps the concert moving along smoothly. The dolby digital surround is one of the best I've ever heard from a live performance with different instruments definitely coming from opposite sides of the soundstage. Rears are mostly ambiance with a slight echo to add to the openness of the recording.

Unfortunately, the technical aspects are the only really good part of the concert. While really giving a very good performance, Smokey's voice is horrible. Either from time taking it's toll or because of too many shows on a nightly basis, his voice is scratchy, hoarse and even cracks at times while trying to hit the higher notes. In several instances, the higher keys have been changed to allow him to sing notes that apparently he can no longer reach. While this happens to alot of performers at times, this, in conjunction with the raspy voice just makes for a poor performance.

The other thing that jumps out at you from the beginning is the lack of enthusiasm from both the audience and more importantly, the band. Other than a few older ladies at one front table who continually stand up and applaud and dance at the start of each song, the rest of the audience appears sedated and the only time you can tell they're still there is the polite applause at the end of each number. On several occasions, Smokey tries to get the audience involved with a singalong. The response is very poor even with him really trying to get things going.

The band itself looks extremely bored during the entire routine until the very last number where they finally get with the program and begin to act like they're in front of a live audience. One can't help but wonder whether this reaction is coming from the fact that's it's the last song and they know that after they finish it, they can get offstage.

It's unfortunate that such a highly respected legendary performer is captured in such a less than appealing music video. If you're a major Smokey Robinson fan, you might find something redeeming in this video, otherwise I would recommend passing on it. I could spend more time on this review, but really see no reason to. Hopefully one of the new formats will issue some of his earlier work in 5.1 hi-rez.

Track List:
My Love
The Tears Of A Clown
Ooo Baby Baby
Shop Around
I Second That Emotion
Quiet Storm
Starting Here And Now
Everything You Touch
Speak Low
Lady Sings The Blues
There's A Right Girl For Every Guy
Just A Mirage
The Tracks Of My Tears
Just To See Her

Next Time: Tommy James & The Shondells: Live At The Bitter End