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The T.A.M.I. Show

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The James Brown performance from this 1964 concert in Gardena, California is famously referred to by Sting in the Police song "When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around;" "Turn on my VCR/Same one I've had for years/James Brown on the T.A.M.I. Show/Same tape I've had for years." The tape must have been somewhat difficult for Sting to obtain since until the release of this DVD it has never been available for sale in any form; those who weren't at the concert could only see the show during its brief theatrical run or via one of only a few television broadcasts. And pity Sting when his videotape blew up as it ultimately surely did, since Brown's performance of "Out of Sight," "Prisoner of Love," "Please, Please, Please" and his recent hit at the time "Night Train" is a riveting spectacle of a young singer at the top of his game. The revue-style concert also featured Jan and Dean, Chuck Berry, Gerry and the Pacemakers and a host of Motown acts like the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The Rolling Stones close the show with a spirited five-song set but the guys had to follow Brown and Mick Jagger's dancing and preening come off as anticlimactic after just having watched the master soul man at work. A good deal of the show does not stand the test of time; sets from Lesley Gore and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas seem stilted and the Motown performers are not particularly inspired here. Still, thanks to Brown, the Stones (with Brian Jones,) a four-song set from the Beach Boys that includes a particularly raucous take on "I Get Around" and a brief appearance from garage rockers the Barbarians The T.A.M.I. Show belongs in the category of reclaimed treasure as much as it does that of historic document. An acronym for Teenage Awards Music International, The T.A.M.I. Show was supposed to be the first of a series of annual concerts and awards shows to create music scholarships for teenagers but the whole thing bombed so what you have on this approximately two-hour video presentation is all there is or will ever be of The T.A.M.I. Show.

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