Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, Wed 7 Aug 2013 (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

PRIORITY Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

A show of incredible vocals and vivacious energy from the ‘First Lady of Motown Soul’

Imagine one giant ballroom, rainbow lighting, dry ice and a giant disco ball – it's a fitting setting for, as her personal compère puts it, the ‘First Lady of Motown Soul’. Detroit’s Martha Reeves looked every inch the part in purple sequins, tambourine in hand, thanking Edinburgh for letting her perform. It’s hard to believe she’s over seventy, as her incredible voice and vivacious energy make for a typically sparkling performance.

The setlist contains buoyant versions of crowd-pleasing hits; ‘Nowhere to Run’, ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Jimmy Mack’, the latter with a comic story on how she’s still looking for a man in a three-piece suit. The crowd is lovingly regaled with tales of the golden age of Motown and her legendary life; one poignant moment involves a song about her son hating his Navy uniform. A beautiful rendition of ‘No One There’, a track from Reeves’ Black Magic album, is also a highlight. At the end, the predictable but always satisfying power hit ‘Dancing in the Street’ was sweetened further by Martha shimmying through her medley of Motown hits.

MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS - Nowhere To Run (Shindig 1965