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Tina Turner..."" Full of personality and song"
5/ 8/00 Oakland, CA.

Tina Turner

........{short description of image} ina Turner certainly doesn't look like she's ready to quit just yet. Kicking off what's being billed as her final major stadium tour, Tina Turner showed that even at 60 she hasn't lost any of the spunk and soul her fans have come to expect. At the beginning of her two-hour performance, the 60-year-old promised a career retrospective. But even though she surveyed a string of songs - from the 1960 R&B shout "A Fool in Love" to her mid-'80s comeback hits to the title track of her new album, Twenty Four Seven - Turner's performance felt more current than nostalgic. Turner began the show with the rarest of gems, riling the sold-out arena into a gospel fervor with I Wanna Take You Higher and River Deep, Mountain High. She split the two with her guitar jam contribution to the Who's Tommy soundtrack, Acid Queen, and the innocent rock piano groove of her first recording, A Fool in Love.

.......She showcased her vocal versatility rather than the over-the-top belting of her past, sitting down and turning the Beatles' "Help" into a piano ballad. She also transformed "Better Be Good to Me" into an affirming, soulful strut, and she reworked her one-time disco version of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" into a warm celebration of love. The show was heavy on familiar readings of rock oldies - Sly Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher," the Beatles' "Get Back," Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness," and Sam & Dave's "Hold on, I'm Comin'" - songs more about pumping up the energy than about manifesting Turner's interpretive powers. The backdrop for the journey - a three-story, metallic intertwining of staircases and cubby holes in which Turner's seven-piece band, three dancers and two backup singers mingled - could not distract from Turner's raw power. The star and her troupe were all over the set, which resembled a giant three-tiered erector set, augmented by a cherry picker that swung over the crowd during an encore.

......At first, the performance seemed a bit rushed, but it turned out that there was a lot of breathing room in the course of the evening, something that probably will disappear once the performance gets tighter. In fact, the only low points came during Turner's protracted absences for outfit changes, when the backing crew was forced to carry the show. Minus Turner's soaring vocals - which cut sharply through Oakland's infamously muddy acoustic chamber - the band seemed awkward and cursory. The highest bathroom and refreshment traffic streamed through the aisles during songs from Turner's new album, ``Twenty Four Seven,'' Turner sang four numbers from her new album, which lacked the old-school punch.

.......Highlights included the slow, soulful "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," -and ``Proud Mary'' punctuated the set before a double encore - it made up for in energy and polish. "Nut Bush City Limits," and "Private Dancer." , as well as such oldies as "River Deep, Mountain High," and, for the record, wore nine or 10 outfits, only two of which were miniskirts that showcased those famous legs. Tina can really put on a great show .

..... Lionel Richie helped made the show special with a smooth, entertaining performance that served to remind how many hits he has had as a solo artist and as a member of the Commodores. Returning to the stage after almost a decade off, he and his tight band won over the crowd with a highly percussive, dance-oriented set. He hushed the hall with romantic ballads, and got laughs with jokes about his long absence. Richie brought back memories to an appreciative audience, who chimed in as he sang many of his hits such as "Dancing on the Ceiling," "All Night Long," "Say You, Say Me" and "We are the World."

.....Janice Robinson, the talented, promising new recording star, represented the new generation of R&B singers with a short opening set. Unfortunately, many were still jamming the aisles looking for their seats while she performed.

By Randy Cohen

Get her latest music from CDNOW like Twenty Four Seven,

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