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Midnight Star Shines on Thunder Valley

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Seventies musicmakers Midnight Star and A Taste of Honey packed Pano Hall at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Friday night, keeping the audience on their feet for most of the show.

A late start didn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm as Grammy Award-winning A Taste of Honey, featuring original band member Janice Marie Johnson, stormed the stage. Johnson was decked out in a pink sequin dress and high heels and sporting her bass guitar.

As soon as the band kicked into gear, the audience was on their feet, as the band played all their hits like “I’m Talking About You” and “Disco Dancin’.”

After a quick wardrobe change into an orange kimono, Johnson sang her hit song “Sukiyaki” as the audience settled back in their seats.

The audience catapulted out of their seats as Johnson finished the set with their biggest hit, “Boogie Oogie Oogie.”
Prior to the show, Johnson was backstage meeting some of her fans. I’ve attended a number of meet-and-greets, and Johnson was one of the most down to earth artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She asked everyone their name, repeating it back to ensure she got it right. She would give them a hug and then start asking them questions while they were getting their picture taken. Class act all the way!

After a longer than expected break to change out equipment, the audience was back up on their feet as founding Midnight Star members Belinda Lipscomb (vocals), Melvin Gentry (guitar/vocals), Bo Watson (keyboard/vocals) and Bill Simmons (keyboards) took the stage with longtime bandmates Kenneth Gant (bass) and Bobby Lovelace (drums).

Pumping out their signature R&B electro-funk sound, they had the crowd singing and cheering to “Electricity,” leading into a brief version of “Headlines,” “Wet My Whistle” and “Midas Touch.”

I thoroughly enjoy bands like Midnight Star that take the time to choreograph their moves for each song. It adds a completely different dynamic to the performance, and it just plain looks good. Obviously the crowd agreed, because as soon as the band started moving in sync with each other, the audience responded with a round of applause.

After ending their set with “Freak-A-Zoid” and “No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” it was obvious the crowd was quite satisfied with the night’s performances by both bands.

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