Our friend, John Estes brings us this spirited review of a show he saw last week–a Halloween treat for us tonight!
FLORENCE & THE 5TH DIMENSION: BETTER THAN EVER!
A Concert Review by John Estes
It had been about two years since I last saw The 5th Dimension featuring Florence LaRue, so this past Friday, I couldn’t wait to catch their show at the Arcada Theater near Chicago, Illinois. I have to say right away, they sound as good as ever, if not better! The current lineup of Florence with Patrice, Willie, Leonard and Floyd, has been in place now for over five years, and it really shows. Each member has their own distinctive talent which brings something special and unique to the group. They opened with Earth Wind and Fire’s SEPTEMBER with the fun and energy only The 5th Dimension can bring. Next, the quintet performed their version of MY GIRL, which Florence pointed out was not the sound the group would eventually become known for. Then, they broke into UP-UP AND AWAY, which brought many in the crowd to their feet, singing along with the Grammy Award-winning signature song. The Arcada audience was certainly a lively bunch that night!
“The 5th” continued with a medley of their hit songs which included THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN, WEDDING BELL BLUES, and (LAST NIGHT) I DIDN’T GET TO SLEEP AT ALL. Leonard, Patrice, and Florence were featured lead singers on these tunes, then Ms. LaRue’s version of NEVER MY LOVE was delivered dramatically, to say the least. Next, the group discussed love songs and how much they’ve changed over the years; this gave way to Willie Williams’ interpretation of the Jimmy Webb classic, MACARTHUR PARK. This is one of my favorites because I just love the raw emotion that Willie puts into the song, along with the stirring background parts of the other members. Next, Florence movingly performed ONE LESS BELL TO ANSWER. The group ended the first set of their show with the upbeat and hip STONED SOUL PICNIC, inviting various audience members to come up on stage for a “dance off with The 5th Dimension!”
Post-intermission, the five entered with a costume change and singing their memorable CALIFORNIA SOUL. This was the first time I ever heard the hit performed live in concert. (This was such a treat for me and made me think of other personal requests they might add to their future concert repertoire, like LIGHT SINGS and MAGIC IN MY LIFE!) Next, they performed the captivating Rain Medley with each singer taking a solo turn. The 5th Dimension closed leaving us wanting more with AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN.
And we did get more, because afterward there was an interesting Q&A session onstage with the Emcee (and the owner of the Arcada Theater) asking each singer how they came to be a member of the legendary group. He asked Florence about various milestone moments with The 5th Dimension. Then it was time for a “meet and greet” with the fans. I got the chance to ask some additional questions and had a few pictures taken with my all-time favorite musical group, the perfect ending to a magical event.
(copyright 2014, John Estes, edited by Robert-Allan Arno, The Soul of The Voice, Ltd. for FOREVER 5th DIMENSION)