The great days of doo-wop and Motown may be behind us, but the rich tradition of rhythm and blues vocal harmonies carried on at the Capital Centre last night. It was no surprise that the O'Jays reminded one of the original Temptations.It was surprising, though, that the Jones Girls reminded one of the Supremes and that Heaven & Earth reminded one of the Impressions.
All three acts featured clockwork choreography, coordinated suits and clicking rhythm sections. These features mirrored the careful precision of the three-part vocal bllends. Heaven & Earth reached back into the early doo-wop roots of the style with a credible remake of The Flamingos' old hit, "I Only Have Eyes For You." The Chicago Male Quartet also showed off a raw Southern-shout style.
Unlike the Supremes, the three Jones sisters -- Valerie, Shirley and Linda -- shared the vocals equally. This made every song a triple-spout fountain of luscious, throaty voices. For example, they transformed the Bee Gee's "How Deep Is Your Love" from wispy romanticism into upbeat passion.
The O'Jays have long been a key part of the "Philadelphia" sound that replaced Motown as the capital of soul. On their long list of hits last night, their vocal gears meshed without a slip.