Thursday, July 1, 2010

Four Tops to Bring Motown Flavor to Tioga Downs

The legendary Four Tops will bring their Motown sound to Tioga Downs Friday night as part of the Summer Concert Series. Tickets are available at the Tioga Downs Gift Shop and all Ticketmaster outlets and start at just $10. The show is outdoors and begins at 8:00 PM. Here is a preview of the concert from the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin:

For a remarkable 44 years — from 1953 to 1997 — the Four Tops stayed together. In the world of pop music, it was an unprecedented achievement.

Then time, as it does, started to take its toll. Tenor Lawrence Payton died in 1997; bass Renaldo "Obie" Benson left us in 2005; and lead baritone Levi Stubbs, one of R&B music's standout voices, succumbed to cancer in 2008.

The one remaining original member — tenor Abdul "Duke" Fakir — is still out there, sharing such classics as "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)," "It's the Same Old Song," "Reach Out I'll Be There" and more. With him are three new Tops: Theo Peoples (as lead singer), Ronnie McNeir and Payton's son, Roquel.

Local music fans will get a chance to see the Four Tops for themselves at 8 p.m. Friday when they perform at Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols.

During the 1960s, the Four Tops helped to define the Motown sound, along with labelmates The Temptations, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. Their string of hits, penned by the legendary production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland and backed up by session musicians The Funk Brothers, sold millions of records worldwide. The original members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and received Grammy awards for lifetime achievement last year.

Although the group's last true studio album was 1995's "Christmas Here With You," Fakir discussed earlier this year the possibility of recording with this incarnation of the Tops.

Tickets for the show are $10, $15 and $25, and are available at the Tioga Downs gift shop, through Ticketmaster at or by calling (800) 745-3000.