Smokey Robinson gives fans something to remember

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Smokey Robinson opens his show in the Caesars Maximus Theater. Smokey Robinson opens his show in the Caesars Maximus Theater.

It was the kind of night that brought back memories. Traffic in Atlantic City was at a standstill. Most of the cars were heading into casino parking garages. We were heading to see Smokey Robinson in the Caesars Maximus Theater, and we left early in anticipation as the weekend had a lot going on in town.

I can only believe that is why the show was held up for slightly more than a half-hour. The lines to get into the theater extended out to the lobby. In the end, there were only a few seats unfilled in the showroom. Right away I also noticed people were dressed for a Saturday evening out on the town. The crowd knew how to dress for an evening to be spent with a musical legend, with sequined tops and long, almost formal skirts on the women, and the men wearing suits. A few of them even had on hats.

Finally, to the sound of loud applause and shouts of “Smokey,” he appeared and the long wait was forgiven. Backed up by a six-piece band and three backup singers – every one of them dressed in white suits – along with two female dancers, he came on stage.  He dressed for the opening in a red jacket, black shirt and slacks, and black and white striped tie. This was to be a classy show with a classy performer. "Old school" is what I overheard about the opening. There is no doubt what helped him to score in the top 10 pop hits in the ’60s and into the ’70s. He started out with the group the Miracles before going solo.


During the show he gave the crowd what it came to hear. He received one of his many standing ovations of the night for "Baby, Baby." When he remarked how good it was to be back in Atlantic City the crowd went into a frenzy shouting his name. And when he removed his jacket to relax, he went into boogey dance moves that drove the female audience members up on their feet to join him in those same moves.

He told the story of having the honor to work at Motown Records and said he was there when the company celebrated 50 years. He grew up in Detroit in a house where music was always on the radio, and said that was his inspiration.

He took a brief break that gave his singers and musicians time to take over the stage. For a novel idea he sort of had the audience do the song “My Girl,” each side of the theater trying to out-sing the other. At that point he was on the receiving end of a lovely arrangement of flowers from a fan from the audience. Many times during the show members of the audience seemed to rush the stage to take cell phone pictures of him. They were not stopped until near the end of the entire performance.

During the time on stage when he was not performing he had time to promote two CDs he has made.

Just to help your memory along, he sang some of his long ago hits, "Fly Me to the Moon," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," The Tracks of my Tears" and a favorite of mine, "Tears of a Clown."

Once again he vacated the stage to reappear in a white shirt and lavender slacks with, of course, same lavender-colored shoes. He then told everyone that they will hear everything that can be played. When he described records on 78s, 45s or those old eight-tracks, the audience knew what he was talking about. This show is for a generation that listened to different music then what is heard today. I don’t know if the new music will be as long remembered as that from the past.

As concertgoers left the showroom they could buy T-shirts and other memorabilia available in the lobby.

I’m sure the show brought back memories for many fans. Smokey Robinson just gave them one more.

Photos by Fred Fabel

After a quick change of clothes, Smokey Robinson continues to wow the audience. After a quick change of clothes, Smokey Robinson continues to wow the audience.

Smokey Robinson, the band and singers give the audience what they came to hear.       Smokey Robinson, the band and singers give the audience what they came to hear.


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