SIXTY years ago, one of the most influential record labels in history was established by Berry Gordy Jr. in Detroit creating superstars out of The Temptations, Four Tops, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye amongst many other illustrious names with Motown`s catalogue of music becoming synonymous with a golden age.

It was rather fitting for Martha Reeves and The Vandellas to return to the region that they first visited back in 1962, to celebrate this significant milestone and no surprise to see The Riverside filled with enthusiastic Motown lovers to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in the flesh.

She may be 78 years old but the fire still burned brightly for Reeves, joined by her sisters Lois, a Vandella for the past 50 years and Delphine a relative newcomer at 40 years and a red-hot backing band including a four-piece horn section.

For the best part of an hour and a half she thrilled the high-spirited audience with golden hits from Nowhere To Run, Jimmy Mack and (Love Is Like A) Heatwave bringing memories flooding back for many in the crowd.

What was startling though were the number of young people in the crowd, many not even born when Reeves was flying high in the charts but such is the universal appeal of her music, generations stood side by side united by the common bond of the love of music as Reeves, wonderful, velvet voice caressed the ears during Come and Get These Memories.

Not one to be messed with Reeves made short shrift of the photographers in the photo pit but showed her compassionate side when coaxing a fan up onto the stage, giving him a warm embrace in the process.

A classy medley of Aretha Franklin standards including R.E.S.P.E.C.T and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman in tribute to her recent passing and a wonderful cover of Marvin Gaye`s What`s Going On made the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

Of course, Dancing In The Street, one of the all-time greats, closed the show with the crowd dancing and singing until the very last note as Martha Reeves And The Vandellas celebrated Motown`s birthday in style.

Mick Burgess