Pointers still jumping for their love ith over forty years of experience under their belt, The Pointer Sisters are showing no sign of putting on the breaks on their career. And they very well shouldn’t. After dominating the R&B and pop charts with their ambitious slips into country, blues, funk, dance-pop and rock and experiencing a successful overseas revival in Europe a few years back, the three-time Grammyaward winning trio are still touring the world with their strong catalog of songs. A stop at Birmingham, Ala.’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of University of Alabama in Birmingham, allowed the girls to try their Top 40 arsenal on the Southern town. The affair was a bit sparkly and gaddy, appealing to the elite sponsors and less-thanrhythmic concertgoers. For the first half pretty much, the Pointers were the only things moving in the almostpacked, 1000-seat concert hall. As usual, they opened up their set using Vegas theatrics, singing backstage to the gospel opening of Allen Toussaint-penned “Happiness.” When they finally appeared on stage revealing red party dresses and bling accessories, the pulse of the song’s rhythm mutated into a funk-throttled jam. “Automatic,” a revisit to Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” a spunky five-minute synth-pop rendering of “Dare Me” and a medley containing “Betcha Got a Chick on the Side” and their first big hit, “Yes We Can Can” ensued. Before entering a break for wardrobe change, the Pointers were able to slow things down with a few midtempos ballads, particularly with
POInter sIsters ALYS STEPHENS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Birmingham, Alabama Friday, April 1, 2011
their take on Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire” and the Southern-tuned country-oriented gems of “Fairytale” and “Slow Hand.” The audience approved the downhome Southern charm of the songs and blushed back at the trio as if they were in an intimate cabaret room.
Trimmed with all the works, the ladies returned for their uptempo dance finale, rushing through an unstoppable tsunami of “Jump (For My Love),” “Neutron Dance” and “I’m So Excited.” By the time the girls leapt back into their Sunday morning gusto, with Ruth belting “I’m so happy doin’ the neutron dance,” the crowd had already rose to their feet, turning the gala event into a sanctified version of Studio 54. Ruth’s granddaughter, Sadako Johnson, 27, who fills in the gap for the late June Pointer who passed away in 2006 from cancer, brought an abundance of youthful energy to the set, almost sticking out from her veteran ensemble, but her beauty along with in-between solos made her a perfect fit on stage. Although a tad bit short and missing some of their other revered hits, the girls stayed “excited” throughout their entire seventy-minute show. Ruth promised the crowd, “We’ve gotta come back to Alabama. We will be back.” It proved to be the perfect salve for those willing to wait for round two. BY J MATTHEW COBB
SLOW HAnD: Anita (l), ruth (m) and Sadoka Johnson (r) prove they have the easy touch while working their magical three-part harmony.
Published on Aug 4, 2011
Published on Aug 4, 2011
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