AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
Some moments Tuesday night at Heinz Hall were very much like a time warp, as Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, belted out several of the hits that made her famous.
Aretha took the audience on a condensed, hour-and-a-half tour of the her storied music history, with portions of the show devoted to R&B, gospel and lively pop.
Much of the time, Aretha's powerful voice maintained that characteristic gritty, husky tone that led Rolling Stone magazine to name her the Best Singer of All Time.
The Detroit native wore a sparkly white gown with a snowflake-like pattern, and performed in front of a huge symphonic band and a trio of backup singers.
Unfortunately, Aretha's backup singers only teased us at the beginning of the show with a quick snippet from “Chain of Fools” — one of her most iconic songs — but she didn't follow up with the whole song. However, the crowd did get several favorites, such as the fun and energetic ‘80s anthem “Freeway of Love” — which got the otherwise mellow crowd standing up and dancing — along with the sensual ‘60s song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and the sassy ‘60s classic “Respect.”
Aretha devoted a spirited portion to gospel music, the first music she learned to sing as a Baptist preacher's daughter. It had the inspiring feel of a modern worship service.
Aretha continued to surprise at the end of the show when she returned to the stage several times after the encore, adding more spice to the concert with smiles, waves and quick little dances.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.