Dimension Tour 2022 :Originally known as the Hi-Fi’s, The 5th Dimension, is an American R&B/ soul/ pop and jazz group from Los Angeles, California.
In 1986 by Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo, who gathered a group of friends to form a singing group called The Hi-Fi’s. They group played local clubs and in 1964 caught the attention of Ray Charles, who took them on tour with him. Despite recording a mildly successful single, the group went separate ways. McLemore and McCoo sought to start a new group and recruited Florence LaRue, Ron Townson, and Billy Davis Jr. The members began rehearsing as the Versatiles in early 1966 and struck a deal with Soul City Records.
Unfortunately their first single with Soul City Records, “I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever,” was a flop, but they hit a huge breakthrough with “Up, Up and Away” in 1967. The single won five Grammy Awards, and was the start of a string of successful singles. Their album, “Stoned Soul Picnic” received gold status, and when they released “Medley: Aquarius/ Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures” for the musical hair, their success blew up. The Ed Sullivan Show dedicated the February 21, 1971 episode to the fifth anniversary of The 5th Dimension.
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Caught the 5th Dimension on their “50th Anniversary Tour” at Cache Creek last night. Though Florence LaRue is the only member of the original quintet still performing with the group, they have maintained their smooth, “wall of sound” harmonic vocal blend. The set opened with an energetic cover of Earth Wind & Fire’s “September,” followed by the Motown classic “My Girl” (with Temptations choreography). Next up was the 5th Dimension’s own “Workin’ On A Groovy Thing,” which I’d never seen the group perform live before. (Full disclosure: I’m a life-long fan of the 5th Dimension and have seen the group in concert several dozen times over the decades, going all the way back to the original lineup in the 70s; in fact, they were my first concert ever.)
A medley of the group’s hit singles followed, giving each member of the quintet a chance to shine. Leonard Tucker delivered a soaring version of “The Worst That Could Happen,” followed by Patrice Morris demonstrating her vocal powers on “Last Night I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All.” Florence LaRue capably handled the leads on “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Never My Love,” both of which featured Marilyn McCoo on the original recordings. Tenor Willie Williams then led the group through a dramatic reading of Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park.”
After that dramatic moment, the group shifted gears with what they described as “the 5th Dimension’s party song,” Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic,” during which Florence wandered out into the audience and enlisted a couple of volunteers to come onstage and dance with the group. Of course, their dance moves weren’t necessarily slick, but it was good natured fun. The group’s first big hit, “Up, Up And Away,” followed.
After all that dancing, diva Florence LaRue had to sit down for a minute (Hey, she’s nearly 75—she’s entitled), so the group perched on stools and launched into their “rain” medley, once again giving each member of the quintet a solo spotlight: Bass Floyd Smith on “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” Leonard Tucker on “I Wish It Would Rain,” Willie Williams on “Rainy Days & Mondays,” and Patrice Morris on “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” The quintet’s elegant harmonies were featured to gorgeous effect on James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” and the medley closed with Florence LaRue’s bluesy lead on “Stormy Weather.”