It's so easy to be disappointed by your childhood heroes, and I've seen my share of elderly rock, blues and jazz performers coasting their way through a set to the next paycheque. I was prepared for a pleasantly nostalgic evening in the company of Smokey Robinson, but was suitably impressed by a consummate professional who still knows how to show an audience a great time.
He might lay the sex appeal on a little too strong for a senior citizen, but while he's cooing about lingering in bed with his lover he's also reminding you that he's the man who showed Marvin Gaye how to be sensual onstage, and the master who schooled young Michael Jackson. Mr. Robinson still has it, and while he might look a little silly at his age in red leather pants, 37 Top 40 songs give you the right to do just what you want. He rested his voice on the opening pair of songs, leading me to think that he didn't have much left in his high range, but for the rest of the evening—and it was a lengthy set—his marvellous instrument seemed as supple as ever. There's a lot of show biz in his act but, in spite of the set patter and the pair of dancers who took me back to that part of my youth that was "misspent" hanging out at the Coppertone Revue on the midway of the local carnival, he seemed to be in the moment and having a great time interacting with an audience that was happy just to be spending a beautiful evening with him.