Friday Night: Smokey Robinson at Jones Hall

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A surprising turn came during Robinson's rousing cover of Norah Jones' debut single, "Don't Know Why," in which the Motown man turned a young girl's heartbreak opus into a soulful male point-of-view; the way he wrapped his voice around those minor chords, turning them upside down, was an unforgettable experience and exactly why the world designates someone like him with the status of legend.

It was more surprising to hear this halfway through the concert:

"Much to our regret, the Houston Symphony has to leave us," Robinson said. Left alone with his band, he performed songs from his current two albums: Timeless Love and Time Flies When You're Having Fun.

Have fun he did.

Including hits "Tracks of My Tears" and "Crusin' Together" into the latter part of the concert, Robinson also injected a blush-inducing new track from his Time Flies album: the double entendre-overdosing tune, "That Place," "deep down inside you."

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Singing wasn't the only "fun" thing Robinson did that night. Determined to prove that the 70-year-old still hasn't lost his boyish charm, he told campfire stories, (one involved another Motown legend, Stevie Wonder, whom Robinson has renamed Wonder-"ful," and his driving abilities) gyrated hard and laughed longer than many of his musical peers -- older and younger.

"We came to have fun!" Robinson shouted. "We came to have a good time! We came to get close."


Personal Bias: America's "greatest living poet" has still got it.

The Crowd: A mature, settled crowd.

Overheard In the Crowd: "You sittin' next to me? I'm the luckiest man in the world; I've got two pretty girls sitting on both sides of me!"

Random Notebook Dump: Nothing random to be said. Robinson's concert was seamless.

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This was a great show. Smokey Robinson! What more can you say?

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