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Pop Music : Whispers Show the Real Thing

It isn’t often in the world of entertainment that someone who is short and chunky gets to lord it over someone who is lean and hunky.

But in the aftermath of the Milli Vanilli scam, Walter Scott, one of the stubby, blocky-looking twins who front the Whispers, can be forgiven for taking a moment during the veteran R&B; group’s early show Friday night at the Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim to crow about the value of substance over glitz.

“If you are looking for some smoke to appear, or for somebody to disappear and reappear--(this is the) wrong place,” Scott told the audience, referring to Milli Vanilli’s sleight-of-hand stage act. “Everything you hear tonight is real.”

While Milli Vanilli is fast becoming an old joke, the Whispers remain a steady standby after more than 20 years as a recording act. Their 75-minute show was the work of solid, if not extraordinary performers, B-students of soul who may not create soaring moments but who get the job of entertaining done in classy, confident fashion.

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Brothers Walter and Wallace (Scotty) Scott sang leads in closely matched voices that may not be striking or emotionally acute, but have enough range and smoky body to make for enjoyable listening.

While nothing the Whispers sang holds up as an R&B; landmark, just about everything had an appealing melodic hook. Good singing was backed by a sharp and lively eight-man band, leaving no lapses or weaknesses to complain about.

After 7 was scheduled to open, but after a 70-minute delay it was announced that the platinum-selling rookie vocal trio would not perform because of illness.


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