T.A.M.I. Show Review
Seeing the TAMI Show on a big screen at the Arclight was fun. The film was presented as a glorified kinescope (it basically looks like a videotape of what was playing on a TV screen). Steve Binder, the film's director was on hand to tell some stories about the 3 days it took to film. The print we watched, he told us, was donated to the festival by none other than Quentin Tarantino.
It's really a time capsule of a film. The line up included legends James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys (who appear briefly, but actually had their performance removed from the film because their manager thought it was beneath them), Chuck Berry, Jan & Dean and the Supremes; one-hit wonders Leslie Gore, Gerry & The Pacemakers; and no-hit wonders like the Barbarians.
It was fun seeing Smokey, Marvin, The Stones and the Supremes on the verge of superstardom. This was 1964, so no "Tears of a Clown," "Heard It Through The Grapevine," or even "Satisfaction." Instead they gave energetic performances of their early R&B hits. Now, the real entertainment for most of the show was nearly upstaged by a group of choreographed dancers, including Teri Garr and Toni Basil, who shimmy and wiggle madly behind the acts. Fortunately the dancers were done by the time the Flames took the stage. Ah, James and his Famous Flames.
The highlight of the film is undoubtedly James Brown. He was at his peak, in his mid-30s and the fastest dancer alive. He ripped through "Out Of Sight" with dance moves that made me jump out of my seat. I know the people behind me must have been annoyed. Then he cooled it down with "Try Me" and "Prisoner of Love." The showstopper was "Please, Please, Please," which featured James falling to his knees, mic stand in hand over and over. When his valet and one of the Famous Flames came over with the cape to drape over James' shoulders, the audience in the movie theater went as nuts as the crowd on hand. It was that electrifying. The final number was the mainly instrumental "Night Train" which showcased Brown's dancing talents, with numerous dancing encores. James lit the stage so hot that even the Stones couldn't handle following him.
Needless to say, if this film comes within a county of you: you better run, don't walk, to see it. The T.A.M.I. Show is pop history.
Love, Power, Peace