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Quartet gives radiant performance

                                                                                        By Garaud MacTaggart, Contributing Reviewer


Musical tributes perform a valid service for audiences who may never have seen the stars to which these shows are paying their respects. They also nudge the memory banks of folks who may have heard the stars in their youth and want to relive at least a portion of that experience. Then again, there would be no tribute shows if the artists being “honored” had not created the kind of tunes that hung in your memory like a sound-track for the past. Radiance, a quartet of talented singers, came to Kleinhans Music Hall to unveil a program billed as “Tribute to the Ladies of Motown and R&B Music,” and proceeded to whip through a concert of standards that took the audience back two, three and even four decades. They were energetic, polished and engaging with an entertainer’s sheen honed by years of work in Las Vegas, on cruise ships and in Broadway shows. Truth be told, the results were closer in line to what some folks would call a revue, basically some light theatrical entertainment with short sketches, songs and dances. There were costume changes, clever little dramatic bits and set pieces that aided the transition from song to song and a nice sense of pacing. You could even see members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s cello section tapping their feet as some of the violinists smiled, subtly bobbing their heads to the beat. The songs were pretty much as advertised. There were Motown tunes by the Supremes (“Come See About Me,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” etc.), Martha and the Vandellas (“Heat Wave”),a Donna Summer disco medley featuring “Last Dance,” “She Works Hard For the Money” and “Hot Stuff,” along with props given to Aretha Franklin (“R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and “Freeway of Love”). The crowd even got worked up enough to clap along with the Pointer Sisters version of “I’m So Excited.”

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