Originally billed as "The T.A.M.I. Show II" in preview hype, this concert sequel produced by Phil Spector (who also appears) and filmed at the Moulin Rouge Theater in Hollywood, CA features performances by Joan Baez, The Byrds, Ray Charles, Petula Clark, Bo Diddley, Donovan, The Lovin' Spoonful, David McCallum, Roger Miller, The Modern Folk Quartet, The Ronettes, Sky Saxon of the Seeds and Ike and Tina Turner. Written by
I finally got to see this when it was on cable this month, and it was worth the wait! I admit, I was looking forward the most to the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, James Brown, and the Ronettes, but we watched the entire thing and we were not disappointed. James Brown (who, the story goes, was in some sort of stand-off with Mick Jagger about who the better dancer was...needless to say, he wipes the floor with Mick) was incredible. There were some acts that were slower-moving, such as Donovan, but I guess they figured the audience needed a breather. Bo Diddley is another of the highlights, especially with a trio of beautiful back-up singers/dancers...they are dressed in formal Supremes-style evening gowns and big beehives, but manage to look completely bad-ass, and one of them even plays a bass while doing her little dance routine. The Ronettes are wonderful, doing "Be My Baby" as the crowd of mods and teeny-boppers goes nuts. Ronnie Spector's voice will give anyone with a soul chills in that song, and she really looked like she was having fun, though she did write later in her autobiography that Phil Spector yelled at her afterwards for improvising and not doing the song exactly the way he had instructed her to in rehearsal, proving that Phil Spector is brilliant as far music goes, but not that wonderful of a person. Speaking of which, Phil Spector may not exactly be the poster child for sanity, but he sure knew what he was doing when he put this concert together. Speaking as a dancer who specializes in 60's dance moves, I can honestly say that the go-go dancers (who are shown in footage at the beginning, and grand finale of the film) are the most talented I've ever seen, and trust me, I've seen a lot of footage from that era.
The highlight of the movie has to be the Ike and Tina Turner segment, and that is saying a lot, considering some of the mind-blowing performances that come before it. They do a great medley and include full-length versions of "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine" among others. Even Ike appears to be having the time of his life--I don't think I've ever seen him actually smile on-stage before, but he can't keep the grin off of his face when he happily and smoothly duets with Tina. He might not be a stellar human being, but he definitely deserves credit for his musical talent and ability to entertain. Other than the very minor complaint of Tina's usually perfect fashion sense deserting her for maybe the only time in her life (she has a cute outfit but a bizarre leather 'hat' that looks like a long, deflated Jiffy-Pop Bag), the performance is flawless, and they blow the roof off of the place. Watch for the moment when she goes into the audience to involve them in the show during a slower number-she picks out a young mod guy to sing to, and his eyes are as big as saucers. When she sings, "tell me...do you wanna be my man?" he can't even answer coherently when she hold the mike up to him. The choreography and dance moves are so show-stopping and high energy (even for them) that no-one could follow them-- Spector was smart in saving them for last. The Ikettes and Tina are obviously having so much fun that their feet barely seem to touch the ground, and during the big finish "Tell the Truth", Tina moves so fast that she is literally a blur! You can see why Mick Jagger asked her to teach him how to dance. I keep meaning to re-watch the entire movie, but when I rewind, I can't make it past Ike and Tina's segment-never get tired of seeing them shake a tailfeather! I defy anyone to sit still while watching the last 15 minutes of this film.
Since this is almost impossible to find, don't miss it the next time they decide to run it on television! I only give it nine out of ten stars because it isn't in color. I hadn't been born at the time this was filmed, but watching it, I felt like I was in the audience.
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