Smokey Robinson — Waikiki Shell, April 16, 2022
The influence of R&B on contemporary Americana music is undeniable. Artists such as Yola, Brittany Howard, and The Tedeschi Trucks Band showcase the style of music, combining elements of jazz and blues, having syncopated rhythms and a strong backbeat. Hawaii was honored to host R&B icon Smokey Robinson performances on the island of Maui and Oahu.
Smokey Robinson has been performing for over sixty-five years. The singer, songwriter, producer, and record executive is considered by many as the architect of the Motown Sound. Robinson has been inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, awarded the National Medal of Arts, and honored at the Kennedy Center.
On Oahu, Robinson and his twelve piece band performed at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu. Finally this venue is being utilized to its full potential. The venue can be compared to the Hollywood Bowl. It is only steps from the beach, and like the bowl, concert goers can enjoy a picnic at the seats or in the open grassy areas before the opening notes.
A little after eight, the eighty two year old Detroit native strolled on stage and gave a performance that won’t soon be forgotten. Standing center stage, Robinson opened his concert with “Being with You,” “Second That Emotion,” and “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.” The voice of the showman was as strong today as it ever was. The joy of performing was evident on his face as he sang, smiled, and danced throughout the night. Between classics, Smokey Robinson shared stories about the origins of Motown records, writing songs for The Temptations, and the time Stevie Wonder offered to drive Robinson home from a party. Highlights of the set included “Ooo Baby Baby,” a Temptations melody, and “The Track of My Tears.” “Cruisin’,” which hit the charts in 1979, concluded the performance. Halfway through the song the band added an upbeat funk groove and Robinson invited two willing ladies onstage to encourage each side of the amphitheater to repeat the chorus. At the conclusion of the ninety minute set, Robinson thanked the audience.
As the lights came on it was obvious fans had enjoyed the evening. The timeless songs and dazzling showmanship only helped solidify Smokey Robinson’s legacy to his Hawaii fans.
Being With You, Second That Emotion, You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, Quiet Storm, Ooo Baby, Baby, The Way You Do The Things You Do/Get Ready/My Girl, The Tears Of A Clown, I Love Your Face, Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words), LaMirada, Just To see Her, The Tracks Of My Tears, Cruisin’