Looking ahead should you be stepping out in the summer the first half of this upcoming stellar Motown revue has the 5-strong male group of singers covering The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and more with songs such as ‘The Tears of a Clown’ and ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)’, ‘My Girl’ all part of the idea, says Patrick Alan the former Michael Jackson dancer and choreographer who is leading the show and directing his Music Box Live band. Then there are the 3-strong female singers and such classics as ‘Baby Baby,’ ‘Reach Out’ and ‘I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honeybunch)’ with the men and women coming together.
The second half is more 1970s with Marvin Gaye’s more conscious anti-war and eco-aware songs including such classics as ‘What’s Going On?’ and the more sensuous ‘Let’s Get It On' moving on to The Commodores, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson deep catalogue plus such songs as ‘I’m Coming Out’ and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’, ‘Sir Duke’, and ‘Masterblaster.’
Patrick who is from St Louis in the United States, and long-time resident in London, mentions how much he likes The Commodores song ‘Zoom’ as one of his favourites. As a dancer and choreographer Patrick is inspired by Fred Astaire, James Brown, Bill ''Bojangles'' Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers and the innovator Jeffrey Daniel, a founding member of Shalamar.
The Music Box Live band to play the Country Club is a 15-piece company featuring a 4 piece rhythm section (bass, drums, guitar, keyboards) 3 backing singers, 5 singers and a horn section featuring trumpet and saxes. The drummer is likely to be Jess Glynne ace Anthony "Sweet Stix" Lewis ubiquitous on the deeply infectious 'Hold My Hand.'
Patrick’s voice is a baritone and he can soar to tenor and also incorporate a falsetto going higher when needed. Also among the singers on the night it's looking like Ade Omotayo well-known for his work with Amy Winehouse. Stephanie Benson is also one of the singers. Stephanie aka the Ghanaian Princess Akua Ohenewaa Asieanem of Kokobin, known for her work with Stevie Wonder who Stevie selects from the crowd sometimes to join him is also a big factor in the line-up on hand for the Aretha Franklin tribute. Patrick is a significant fan of Stevie's and talks of how the ''tone of his voice'' moves him and how he has witnessed him soar at the Palace theatre in Hollywood performing memorably with Deedles, the great jazz singer Diane Schuur. During his enduring career at the highest level of the music biz Patrick has worked with a who’s who in music including such stars as Whitney Houston, Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), James Brown, Luther Vandross, Will Smith, Sean Paul and Alexander O’Neal to name but a few.
Patrick Alan’s Motown Live Revue with Music Box Live: Summer Picnics, Mill Hill Country Club, London NW7 is on 31 July. Tickets
Patrick Alan top left with Lionel Richie of The Commodores (photo: music box live)