It’s easy to sneer at nostalgia package tours like this one. With the Four Tops and the Temptations reduced to just one founding member each, we might as well be watching tribute acts, no? And what’s the point in listening to substandard versions of soul classics if the original recordings sound so much better?
Unfortunately, the Four Tops’ headlining performance suggests the answer to the latter question is: not much. Faced with the thankless task of emulating the impassioned howls of Levi Stubbs, lead singer Harold Bonhart falls sadly short. He’s dedicated, but his voice lacks ballast: Bernadette is given a cheesy funk makeover that strips it of emotion, which just heightens the disappointment, as does the jerky truncation of Same Old Song and Walk Away Renee. Only a churl would deny them a moment of dewy tribute to the lost Tops, but this moment lasts three cloying numbers, the nadir being a rewrite of My Way gloopily sung by sole survivor Abdul Fakir. Repeatedly thanking us for our patience, they confess an awareness of their own indulgence.