The expectations for Ike Turner's show Saturday at the Music Machine--his first concert since well-publicized drug convictions and rehabilitation--were about the same as Dan Quayle's prior to the vice presidential debate: All he had to do was show up on time and not make any major gaffes to claim a sort of victory.
"I'm not a singer, I'm an organizer," Turner confessed early on, winning points for rare self-deprecation. After that admission, Turner went on to do entirely too much lead singing--even on a lifeless "Proud Mary" (!). And it was reported that the lineup of musicians and singers for this "comeback" of the Ike Turner Revue was still being locked in place less than 24 hours before show time, which makes one wonder if the vaunted organizational skills are in any better shape than the vocal pipes.
The 55-minute concert teetered back and forth between the roots flavor you'd expect at a Music Machine show (as when Ikette Bonnie Johnson tackled the bluesy "Dr. Feelgood," sung in honor of Ike with a lyrical slap at ex-wife Tina) and choices more appropriate for a Holiday Inn lounge (as when Ikette Marcy Thomas, another fine singer, crooned Anita Baker's hit ballad "Sweet Love").
Turner's constituency reacted politely, but the dance floor stayed vacant and there were no shouts of "I Like Ike." Time for some damage control before the next appearance, Oct. 28 at the Palomino.