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