Sparkling dimmed stage lights and a roar of claps and screams filled the air when legendary singer Aretha Franklin entered the stage at her Aug. 2 Microsoft Theater concert. It’s easy to say that the Queen of Soul is a living legend with a timeless voice. Even at 73, her voice has remained as powerful as it was 50 years ago when she started her career.
With a live orchestra, Franklin stepped out in a gold sequined gown and opened up the night with the hit “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” A follow up of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” had the crowd standing on their feet and hanging on to every word she sang.
The night consisted of some big R&B soul hits, a dash of pop and jazz music with songs like “Chain of Fools,” “Think” and her early Atlantic Record era “Ain’t No Way.”
Plenty of stars came out to support the queen of soul. At any given moment, audience members could look to their left or right to see celebrities like actress Tika Sumpter, Loretta Devine, or Angela Basset. Franklin even took out time to acknowledge Motown founder and her fellow Detroit native Berry Gordy, TV producer Shonda Rhimes, actress Halle Berry and boxer Sugar Shane Mosley, who was brought to the stage to announce his comeback fight at the Forum on August 29.
She moved the crowd with her showcase of her gospel roots when she performed “Precious Memories” with gospel singer Melvin Williams. The performance of the two was reminiscent of their White House performance from earlier this year. Franklin turned the song into a personal moment when she sang praises to the Lord for seeing her through her health issues back in 2010. It was beautiful to see a sincere moment of praise go up from such a highly admirable music icon.
The honesty in her performance “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” showcased her skills on the piano when she accompanied herself with a beautiful musical arrangement. She also played two more hit songs “Camelot,” and “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” on the grand piano Sunday night.
Franklin later performed Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” one the songs from her recent album, “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics,” and closed the main set with ‘80’s classic “Freeway of Love.”
She took a bow and thanked everyone for coming out to her show while she slowly exited the stage, leaving many people wondering what happened to a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T? But, she soon walked back on the stage with the band roaring in the background as she gave an encore performance of “Respect.” It was at that moment the crowd was left in a gleaming state of happiness as she left the stage.