Monday, January 15, 2007

Movie Review: Marvin Gaye Live 1976 3 1/2 Stars

A rare live performance caught on videotape during the Amsterdam leg of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You tour, Marvin Gaye Greatest Hits live in 1976 showcases Marvin Gaye and his stellar band at their silky smoothest. Marvin’s pipes are in top form as he ahhhhhs in that buttery rich tenor; and he is natty pimpin’ in his kelly green slacks and matching wool cap, pinstripe blazer and canary yellow Oxford.

Gaye reels and rocks and rolls with Motown classics, R&B standards, sophisticated mid-‘70s soul cuts and his signature politically-charged anthems. The set includes “Let’s Get It On,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “What’s Going On,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “Distant Lover” among a dozen other fabulous songs.

When Marvin launches into “Let’s Get It On,” undeniably the sexiest song ever written, the funk in the house is palpable. The vibe is all about making the love. When Marvin sings, “There's nothin’ wrong with me lovin’ you. And givin’ yourself to me can never be wrong… if the love is true,” you believe it. Likewise in “I Want You,” no one has ever wanted anyone in a righter way than when Marvin pleads, “I want you, the right way. I want you, and I want you to want me too. Just like I want you.”

Although shot on video, Marvin Gaye Greatest Hits live in 1976 retains remarkable clarity, and the audio tracks have been mixed well. The only drawback is that the stage was lit for live performance and not necessarily for videography. In many of the songs, Marvin is all but washed out.

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