The Temptations Still Tantalize in Beverly Hills: It’s very easy to be dismissive of legacy bands that only have a small number of original members. You hear phrases like “glorified tribute band” tossed out with reckless abandon by people who aren’t really thinking about the words that they’re saying.
I look at it like this: In June 2004, I went to see the New York Dolls at the Meltdown Festival in London. At the time, there was an outcry that the band would be reforming without the deceased Johnny Thunders, plus also-deceased drummer Jerry Nolan. “How can it be the Dolls with just the three of them,” people exclaimed. But it was a superb show and, just weeks later, bassist Arthur Kane had died of leukemia. Since then, guitarist Sylvain Sylvain has also left this mortal realm, and the Dolls are done for good. Do I regret seeing three of them? Hell no.
I have similar stories about the MC5, the Doors, the Germs, and more besides. Be a purist if you want, but all of these musicians are getting up there in age. You really need to catch them while you can.
That’s a longwinded way to get to the Temptations, but here we are. Otis Williams is the last surviving founder member of the Motown legends. That has, in fact, been the case since the mid-nineties. Williams has been left with the task of carrying the Temptations flag for close to thirty years, and he’s done that with aplomb