Black velvet, sparking sequins and voices that soared with melting ease inside the grand theatre on-board the world’s most famous cruise ship, the QE2, could only mean one thing. The Queens of Motown, the sensational Supremes, are back in town.
One of the most adored acts since the 1960s with 12 number one hit singles; The Supremes are arguably Motown’s most successful female singing group.
And they showed just why when delivering a soul and funk rooted tour de force on the majestic ship.
Now fronted by Schirrie Payne, who joined The Supremes in 1973 and featuring legendary backing singers Joyce Vincent and Susaye Green, the lovable trio thrilled the audience with updated versions of the monster hits; ‘You Keep Me Handing On’, ‘Stop! In The Name of Love’, ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Where Did Our Love Go’.
With interesting anecdotes and humour, The Supremes kept the audience engaged all through their 100-minute set, which was split into two sessions to allow for a costume change.
Backed by a tight band of session musicians based in the UAE, and with their very own musical director keeping things on track, Payne, Vincent and Green cavorted and posture unabashedly while flashing smiles at the adorning audience.
There were some surprises in store for Dubai fans as Vincent performed hits from her previous band, the hit-making Tony Orlando and Dawn.
The infectious gold singles ‘Knock Three Times’ and ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon’ had the crowd thrilled to pieces and even promoted several members of the audience to get up and dance in the aisles.
It was cracking stuff and unmissable fun.
There was a time in the 1960s that Yue Supremes featuring the original diva, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, rivalled the Beatles in terms of commercial appeal as they strung out one hit after another.
Fast-forward five decades, and through several personal changes in the line-up, Payne, Vincent and Green, remain the figureheads of the Motown sound and undoubtedly relevant as they demonstrated when closing the show with a rollicking cover version of Pharrell William’s up-tempo and neo song Happy.
It worked like magic and happy was the vibe on the QE2’s Crystal Lounge after party.