Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: The Cavern, Liverpool

Martha Reeves

Martha Reeves

As Motown legends Martha Reeves and the Vandellas came to town for an intimate night at the Cavern, Getintothis’ Lauren Jones was there to catch the action.

No-one looks as sultry as Martha Reeves does sipping on a half of Guinness.

Audience members taunting her to down it in one go in the middle of her set were left beaten down when she gave them a good speaking to.

As soon as the 76-year-old Motown superstar made her way onto the Cavern stage in a glitzy number and Pat Butcher musical notes as earrings the crowd went wild.

Glistening with sweat after the first track, Martha and her girls made contact with the gig-goers, thanking them for their support over the years which has put a roof over her head and clothes on her back.

Their dedication and determination roared through a setlist of classic sixties songs we all know and adore but never attribute to Martha herself.

Watching her dance with a tambourine in her hand with her trusty backing singers as part of The Cavern’s 60th birthday celebrations in conjunction with Smooth Radio.

Rocking rhythms were met by a triumphant performance from her stellar backing band made up of renowned musicians, making the sold-out back room of the Cavern damp and sweaty, a perfect underground gig.

And my has she still got it – it’s hard to believe that its been more than 50 years since she and the Vandellas made their mark on the soulful Motown sound as she has energy that belies her age.

Gospel tainted fan favorites such as Nowhere to Run and Jimmy Mack came early on in the set, offering a high-octane and tasty set full of tributes to ex-Vandellas drummer Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and Stevie Wonder.

There was also a place for tributes to her favourite Motown writers and producers adding her own tales of how she and the band got their new dresses and shoes dirty when they first visited the ‘coal-mine’ Cavern in the 60s.

Throughout the day Martha has been spreading her love around Liverpool – with videos emerging from earlier in the day of Martha performing Dancing in the Street with a busker next to John Lennon’s statue on Mathew Street showing just how down to earth and truly iconic this soul diva can be.

A Motown treasure, it was a pleasure to witness this history in the making.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Waters.




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