When white-soul singer Taylor Dayne was selected by Michael Jackson as an opening act for some of his European shows, many industry people were amazed.
Sure, she’s had three Top 10 singles from her album “Tell It to My Heart.” But isn’t she one of those disco bimbos--a young beauty whose feeble voice is hidden behind a blaring dance beat?
Monday night at the Roxy, you could see why Jackson picked her. She showed that the sturdy voice on her hit singles--"Tell It to My Heart,” “Prove Your Love” and the ballad “I’ll Always Love You"--isn’t the result of recording-studio wizardry.
Backed by a first-rate quintet, Dayne lustily spat out her lyrics, Tina Turner-style. Even when she talked, there was some of that Turner-like tigress in her manner. Attired in a low-cut, skin-tight dress, the diminutive Dayne was a live wire, firing up the audience with her slinky moves and tempestuous vocals.
Perhaps figuring the crowd would be indifferent to unfamiliar material, Dayne played it safe by fleshing out her 55-minute set with such oldies as Honey Cone’s “Want Ads” and Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love"--a move that seemed to turn off some people in the audience.
But Dayne proved herself early by effectively wailing and growling her way though another oldie, “Try a Little Tenderness,” a slow, gospel-like ballad mined with complexities that will easily expose vocal weaknesses. It was a tough test that Dayne passed convincingly.