‘Beyond the Beehive’ at Lefrak Concert Hall

| ckasden@queenscourier.com |

Rock and Roll’s dynamo is back! With a voice as strong and proud as ever, Ronnie Spector of the original Ronettes is playing to standing ovations. Her latest conquest is at the Lefrak Concert Hall at Kupferberg Center.

She sits center stage and narrates the dozens of slides and movies unfolding on the huge screen behind her. She shares secrets with the audience and describes her battles against a littany of personal crises. To her credit, her list of superstar friendships from the 60’s and 70’s is more impressive.

Two singers, two guitars with drums and keyboard provide live back-up. Her musical story begins in the early 1960s as she remembers amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in New York. The next benchmark is the fast paced Peppermint Lounge. Ronnie explains “the girl groups were never taken seriously in those days. They saw us as employees not artists. I see myself as an artist.”

Ronnie sings “Time is on my Side” as she reminds us that her group had toured with the Rolling Stones. She also offers some great stories about her friendship with the Beatles. In fact she recorded a song called “Try Some, Buy Some” for their label, Apple Records. Her wealth of nostalgia includes singing with Jimi Hendrix and a decades old sound studio meeting with Sonny and Cher.

There are still more revelations. Ronnie sings “Don’t Worry Baby,” written by the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson but originally meant for her girl group. She sings “Say Good Bye to Hollywood,” confirming Billy Joel’s lecture tour explanations that he had written it with the Ronettes in mind.

For almost two hours, Ronnie Spector sings her life to us. Her beehive hairdo may have been replaced by a slightly modified version but the essence of the Ronettes still endures. The beat of the 60s spun to a girl group’s swagger still permeates her incredible voice and her entire stage presence. After forty years, Ronnie Spector can still mesmerize an audience.

Producer Gary Fuchs and his JES Entertainment (with his wife Sherry’s able assistance) continue to revitalize the “oldies” circuit right here in Queens. Next up is the legendary Bobby Vinton at Colden Center. For information call (718) 423-8394. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.