Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Queen of Soul Rules in Bridgeport

Aretha Franklin - photo by John V
Before Autotune, American Idol & The Voice there were the voices. The ones that rocked, moved & inspired us. The voices that, once heard, cannot be forgotten. The one & only Aretha Franklin still has such a voice. On Friday night at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, concertgoers were treated to a thrilling evening of music from the original diva. From the moment she took the stage, The Queen of Soul held court & thrilled the audience; she’s lost none of her sass, grit & soul. Performing hits from throughout her long career, Aretha held us spellbound with classics like “Think” & “Day Dreaming.”

Of course, everyone sang, danced, clapped & grooved along on every number, including the Carole King penned “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” and rousing versions of “Rolling in The Deep,” & “Midnight Train To Georgia,” from her latest CD, Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics. And then there were the moments: Aretha sitting at the piano for stunning performances of the Ed Ames song “My Cup Runneth Over With Love,” (a personal favorite of hers) and a gospel revival, soul-filled reading of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that truly brought the house down. Aretha brought us to a spiritual high, and then took us higher.

There are a lot of good, even great performers & singers, and then there are the ones who take things to the next level. Aretha Franklin is truly at the pinnacle. Her soul & spirit truly inspired & impressed me. In addition to giving us a great show, she was gracious & sincere with the audience, and took time to thank her band, who were fantastic. They were an impressive group of musicians who helped power the show’s energy level. By the time we got to the classic “Respect” & a beautiful take on Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” at the close of the evening, The Queen of Soul had proved she still rules. If you have the chance to see Aretha on this tour, run; don’t walk to your local venue! Here's a link to a performance of "Rolling In The Deep & Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on Letterman:

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