Pointer Sisters & the Temptations at Mystic Lake Casino, 10/13/11

Categories: Last Night
Photos by Steve Cohen
Pointer Sisters and the Temptations
October 13, 2011
Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake, MN

Seeing just one legacy act in a night would have been enough, but Mystic Lake's double header on Thursday  packed the amphitheater with a historic level of nostalgia crossing multiple generations. The Pointer Sisters and the Temptations -- or what's left of their original incarnations  -- took the stage with clear intent to have fun and charm row after row of the near sold-out venue. It was a night that began with such classics as "Automatic" and "I'm So Excited" and ended with "My Girl," making it an enviable evening for any music fan.

The stage was prom-reminiscent with sections of satin streaming from above and leopard patterns projected upon them, starry lights shining in the background. The Pointer Sisters glided out with wide smiles, wearing sharp heels and fitted satiny dresses in peachy colors, clearly an edited throwback to their more colorful days in the style spotlight.

Flanked by two younger women she would soon introduce as her granddaughter and her daughter in place of recovering sister Anita and passed-on sister June, Ruth was immediately recognizable as the original Pointer Sister, her face gracefully aged and '80s-fabulous tresses in tact. She looked like a tall but petite Diana Ross with the larger-than-life weave and sparkling glitter pumps.

Photos by Steve Cohen
Photos by Steve Cohen

After a rendition of lovably campy hit "Automatic" that required Ruth's featured raspy alto to step down several more notches, the crowd seemed ripe for artist-to-audience chat.

"We're going to have a good time tonight, right?" she asked with a sincere grin. "If you feel the urge to kick off your shoes, that's all right by us."

By this point I judged the show to be entirely Ruth's, but her daughter Issa, a fuller-figured siren with a likeable ease about her, proved that wrong by the fourth song in with "Slow Hand."  Ruth noted that the song was a top hit for the group but country star Conway Twitty ultimately took the track to #1.

"They used to think 'Slow Hand' was a nasty song," Ruth recalls. "I bet no one thinks that today by comparison. But I just love that line, 'If I want it all night, please say it's all right.'"

Photos by Steve Cohen
Photos by Steve Cohen
 Ruth properly introduced her granddaughter Sadoku at this time (who reminded me a bit of a young Faith Evans), and named Issa as her daughter with one-time Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards -- saying with a coy wink that Issa was "conceived on the road." Anyone who wondered why these two groups were sharing a bill now had their answer, although it's famously noted that Edwards and the last remaining Temptation, Otis, had their battles.

After a stand-up-and-dance finale that made me want to put on a bad workout headband and fervently aerobicise ("I'm So Excited," "Jump!" and "Neutron Dance" back-to-back), it was time for the Temptations to take their turn, and a whole crew was necessary to position the 15-piece band complete with full horn section.

Photos by Steve Cohen
Ron Tyson
Photos by Steve Cohen
The Temptations

Suited up in matching black jackets and white pants with white piping and silvery saddle shoes, the five Temptations -- featuring the original Otis Williams -- came out and gave what was without question a very rehearsed but no less endearing performance, the audience taking a minute to warm up but shouting the members' names and whooping and hollering to show their love by mid-set.

Since songs back in the late '60s were traditionally shorter (sometimes less than 2 minutes) and the Temptations have such an intimidating roster of hits and influences, the entire performance played out like a hot-mix of hits, their literal in-sync dance moves instantly heart-warming to watch. "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" pleased the fans, who all appeared to have a twinkle in their eye as they witnessed what was at the very least the true spirit of a legendary group.    
Photos by Steve Cohen
Otis Williams
Photos by Steve Cohen
Big Sexy

Newest vocalist Bruce "Big Sexy" Williamson carried many of the longer runs, and 1st and 2nd tenor Ron Tyson (who joined the band in the early '80s) delivered an unforgettable falsetto. Despite this, the crowd favorite was easily the very tall and bald Otis, who definitely made sure to return the love that was rampant all around this night.

"Because of you, I've been having fun for 50 years," he said to much applause, concluding the night with Temptations anthem, "My Girl." 

 We can't begin to surmise what the next 50 will look like for popular music -- the thought itself is both exciting and scary -- but it's probable some of the trends heralded by both of these bands might come back into play. Fans can only hope it's done half as well.


80's R&B regalia
Personal bias:  Story time! The Pointer Sisters' Contact album circa 1985 was the very first piece of music I ever bought with my own money. I was an impressionable 6 year old with an allowance and the ladies on the tape (yes, tape) looked bad ass. I felt 'Twist My Arm' was the clear standout, but a few years later as a mature 8-year-old, I worked backward in their discography and discovered 'Jump' and 'Neutron Dance' on 1983's Break Out.  The latter changed my life in a way because it hooked me almost immediately to dance music, and I've been obsessed ever since.

The crowd: Older but vocal and supportive. Suburban. All smiles.

Overheard: "There needs to be more leopard going on here."

Random notebook dump: "Granddaughter just did an epic booty-shake for the audience. Are her clear plastic heels a coincidence?"

For more photos: See our slideshow by Steve Cohen.

Set list:

Pointer Sisters:

1. Happiness
2. He's So Shy
3. Automatic
4. Slow Hand
5. Chain Of Fools (Aretha Franklin cover)
6. Dare
7. Fire
8. I'm So Excited
9. Jump!
10. Neutron Dance

The Temptations:

1. Hello Young Lovers
2. Glass House
3. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
4. The Way You Do The Things You Do
5. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
6. Ball of Confusion
7. I Wish It Would Rain
8. Just My Imagination
9. Papa Was A Rolling Stone
10. Can't Get Next To You
11. Get Ready
12. Treat Her Like A Lady
13. You're My Everything
14. I Could Never Love Another
15. My Girl

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