This Monday, the legendary band The Three Degrees took the stage, belted and danced the night away. The band are the oldest longest running girl band in history and alone deserves a standing ovation. The moment the delicious beats of Shake Your Groove Thing began an instant smile wrapped around my face. Valerie Holiday, Helen Scott and newest member Freddie Pool sidestepped and bounced through the Peaches and Herb classic and neatly breezed into their rip-roaring disco anthem Giving Up Giving In. What some describe in current vernacular as "swagger" the Three Degrees displayed every swirl, and snarl only with class, decadence and glamour. In the past I’ve heard a few covers of Giving Up Giving Up. You’ve got your amazing versions by Sheena Easton & Elouise and then you have The Nolans version who butchered the feisty disco classic. Giving Up Giving In is a song that requires intense concentration on the harmonies and is a bewilderingly difficult song to perform yet the women unveiled the anthem like it only just fresh out of the oven.
As the Three Degrees, originally hailing from a Philadelphia wall of sound, coursed into Year of Decision and My Simply Heart it dawned on me that every move and graceful inflection seemed somewhat ever so similar to that almighty trio Destiny’s Child. Whilst Motown babes Supremes provided pop of the bubblegum variety, at the core of the Three Degrees was, and still is, orchestrated classy soul. Something later girlbands such as Destiny’s Child have done their best to harness. The Three Degrees were the originals at this typology of pop, melody and that all important powerful sweeping chorus.
The Three Degrees cruised through a fantastic version of Get Your Love Back and beautifully performed Woman in Love without ever sounding like they’re going through the motions. Dirty O’l Man fused neatly into a brilliant Philly medley that included Love Train, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now, If You Don’t Know Me By Now and Disco Inferno. The audience were suitably well-oiled up now. Finally. You see the concert was in a church. As such, this particular audience seemed stapled to the pews sadly. The band did their best to get their audience up and after the medley they were justly rewarded. Indeed, with the lush harmonies of their biggest hit When Will I See You Again swam through the air, their fans bolted up and remembered that this was actually a concert. While the show was electric and dynamic sadly members of the audience failed to match that energy of the band. But, this could be down to the venue.
The Three Degrees said their goodbyes after an indefatigable interpretation of Boogie Wonderland and they proved that they truly deserve the nomenclature of legend under their by-line. One omission was The Runner. Recently covered by British supergirlband Bananarama, The Runner would have been an amazing icing on the cake if added to the setlist. For sure, a cover of Boogie Wonderland – originally by Los Angeles band Earth, Wind & Fire – is extremely welcomed and The Three Degrees would of made its writers Willis and Lind incredibly proud but perhaps The Runner could of been included in the encore. On the night The Three Degrees were tantalizing and vibrant. It would of been incredible to see them actually perform a new song as though I enjoy the hits, the medleys and the covers I would of loved to hear something of a new recording. Or perhaps an acoustic version. Anyway, minor remarks! It was an honour to be in the same company as one of the oldest and longest running girl pop groups in history. It was clear as to why. They were amazing. Still pinching myself!