It’s been an amazing “summer tour summer” for the on-fire Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension…our “Delightful Diva” and talented crew–Patrice, Leonard, Floyd and newest member, Sidney have brought their “Champagne Soul” magic from east coast to west…with a mighty end-of-season stop in Niagara Falls. Special fan Brian Medoro shares this first-hand account…a charmingly informative review that embodies the onstage spirit, today of our favorite quintet. Enjoy, everyone!
FLORENCE LaRUE & THE 5TH DIMENSION ELECTRIFY THE FALLS!
Review by Brian Medoro
8/31/18–Fallsview Casino Hotel, Avalon Ballroom, Niagara Falls, Canada
At 9pm sharp, an anxiously awaiting crowd saw the lights dim and the curtain open in this 1500 seat theater. Complete with balcony, The Avalon Ballroom in Niagara Falls, Ontario doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. The enthusiastic members of The 5th Dimension danced onto the stage, ready to show off their talent and show this jammed room a great time. Instantly you could sense their happiness and excitement to perform for us.
The quintet took us through an entire range of musical emotions…in answer to Ms. LaRue’s question, “Do you remember?” they opened with “September,” which surpassed the E, W & F version in meaning. Then they brought us through some early history of the group, performing a little Motown that got away from them. Next, on to a set of 5th Dimension-flashback hits we all know and love. My big surprise was to hear them sing “Workin’ On A Groovy Thing.” I never saw them perform that live before in the 20+ concerts I’ve seen of theirs! That was indeed, “groovy!” More hits: “Wedding Bell Blues,” “The Worst That Could Happen,” “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep,” and my favorite, “Never My Love.” Superstar Florence always astounds the audience with this powerful hit of theirs from ’71. If I only saw them perform that one song I would have felt like I had seen an entire show, it is that good!
On the topic of Leonard A Tucker Jr with “The Worst That Could Happen,” I would place him as one of today’s best male singers–he can sing a range of genres flawlessly…it’s mind-blowing! He brought the audience to their knees with his interpretation…you could visibly see he felt the impact of love from the crowd.
Florence told us that the incomparable Willie Williams had decided to retire from the group. We will surely miss him! The new member of the group is Sidney Jacobs who now takes the lead on “MacArthur Park.” He did not disappoint!
Patrice Morris delivers “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep”–an instant fan favorite for all. Later, Patrice absolutely shined in her version of “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” With a little sass and power, her voice knocked down the proverbial walls of the Avalon Ballroom and made the Falls of Niagara stop, too!
My favorite part about this current grouping is they have preserved that richly resonant sound so characteristic of The Original 5th Dimension. That is a sound so classic and so proprietary that no other group in history can claim it. I must note that Floyd A Smith‘s phenomenal bass vocals help to keep that blend perfectly in tact.
The legendary, Ms. Florence LaRue is back up to the mic, performing the group’s signature ballad, “One Less Bell To Answer.” Her emotional vocal prowess is so strong, it drove everyone to their feet, shouting and cheering in appreciation.
With all this excitement it couldn’t get any better…but it does. The real party gets under way when The 5th “surry down to a ‘Stoned Soul Picnic.'” Near the end of the song, Florence pulls out some fun loving “party people” from the audience to show us how they strut their stuff in Canada. These good-natured unsuspecting fans had everyone roaring with laughter!
The air is thick with high energy as the lights get a little “trippy,” bringing goosebumps when we hear the band break into “Aquarius.” It is 1969 all over again and we “Let the Sunshine In!” The Niagara Falls audience just couldn’t let Florence LaRue and The 5th Dimension go…we cheered them back for an encore of two more incredible songs.
Fans left the room lit up like stars in the nighttime Niagara sky, talking and smiling like they experienced something like never before…and we truly did! The group has rolled back the hands of time looking, sounding and staying young forever. Thank you Florence LaRue for maintaining The 5th Dimension authentic sound and image for over 5 decades, and finding the greatest talent on earth to continue the “electricity” with you. —Brian Medoro
(Edited by Robert-Allan Arno for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION)
Check out the exciting fall and winter touring schedule of Florence LaRue & The 5th Dimension at this link…from California to a Christmas residency in Branson to bookings into 2019:
(Forever 5th Dimension by Robert-Allan Arno is a production of The Soul of The Voice, Ltd., copyright 2008-2018, intellectual property, all rights reserved)