FIRST NIGHT IS STILL a little under two months away but the Four Tops’ Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir can’t wait for his group’s Motown Legends tour with The Temptations to start. “These tours are always the best,” he tells MOJO, “they’re incredible because the reception we get [in the UK], it’s just like being back in the ’60s. I can’t wait to get up on that stage and sing those songs.”
Fakir is the sole surviving original Top from the line-up that recorded “those songs”, a glorious sequence of Motown classics from 1964’s Baby I Need Your Loving, through Ask The Lonely, Reach Out I’ll Be There, Standing In The Shadows Of Love, Bernadette and many more. But the current Tops line-up is full of experience, from Lawrence Payton Jr, who joined in 2005 and whose father was an original Top, to Ronnie McNeir, with them since 2000, and most recent soulful recruit Harold ‘Spike’ Bonhart, a Top since 2011.
“Lawrence sounds just like his Dad,” explains Duke, “the family sound. He sings second tenor.” McNeir came into their close orbit when he was invited on tour as substitute for their pianist/MD who’d been ill. “Ronnie was already a close friend, like a brother, of Obie [Renaldo Benson], and knew most of the songs and all the dance moves” so was able to smoothly step in. And having ’60s Motown friends and rivals The Temptations on the bill? “That’s a lot of competition and it means we’ve got to be at our best all the time. We’ve got to run them off the stage!”
This coming Boxing Day Duke will be 83 years old but he shows no inclination to quit the stage. “No,” he insists. “I can do it as long as the phone keeps ringing, I’ll be on-stage until I drop. It’s still so enjoyable, I feel so privileged to be able to sing these songs up on stage and get that reaction from audiences. I can’t wait to get over there.”
The Four Tops and The Temptations’ Motown Legends Together Again… One More Time tour with guests Tavares visits the UK in November.
Mon 19th Leeds First Direct Arena
Tues 20th Manchester Arena
Thur 22nd Birmingham Arena
Fri 24th Liverpool Echo Arena
Mon 26th Southend Cliffs Pavilion (Four Tops & Temptations only)
Tues 27th London O2 Arena
Wed 28th Bournemouth International Centre
Thur 29th Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
For information and tickets head to www.ticketline.co.uk, or ring the 24-hour ticket line on 0844 888 9991, or contact venues direct.