Review by Steve Nover
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
When I go to a concert I don’t often get too philosophical, but the recent “Sixties Spectacular” show at Proctors got me thinking about happiness and how expectations can interfere with enjoyment. The show featured four acts, and I was most excited about Ronnie Spector, whom I had never seen before and for whom I had great expectations, as Dickens would say.
Looking great and surprisingly sexy at 68, Ronnie still has a strong voice, but I was a little disappointed with her stage mannerisms that became redundant; lifting one side of her short jacket flirtatiously many times during a song throughout her set became annoying and distracting. It was still a thrill to hear the Ronnettes’ songs she performed – “Baby, I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain” and “Be My Baby” – though the sound mix could have been better. Ms Spector had the largest band of the night with four horns, two keyboards, two female back-up singers in addition to the basic guitar-bass-and-drums, but she mostly transcended the music the way one can’t take their eyes off a great actor in a play or movie.
“I’ve been listening to you forever,” I told Ronnie Spector last week on the phone.
“And I’ve been listening to me forever,” she threw down.
And we both giggled.
Ronnie is the founder of the ’60s girl group the Ronettes; the better half of a 1987 duet with Eddie Money on “Take Me Home Tonight;” a favorite performing sidekick for the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen; and the subject of songs by Billy Joel and the aforementioned Eddie Money.
More than 50 years after first helping to break the glass ceiling by defining the sultry siren in the all-male rock and roll bastion, she remains a role model for contemporary artists like the late Amy Winehouse, and is the Top 20 of all-time Christmas song sales with her renditions of “Sleigh Ride” and “Frosty The Snowman.”
One Canadian critic compared men’s reactions of the Ronettes in the ’60s to women’s reaction of Elvis. She knew even then she had something very special. “I did, I did, Don. As a matter of fact, we had one up on Elvis because the guys and girls were screaming over us.”
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