Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tina Is...Simply The Best!!!

By Keith Richmond January 28, 2009

Upon the eve of Tina Turner's 50th Anniversary Tour in Berlin, a German newspaper article stated that the reason behind Ms. Turner's return to the stage at the age of 70 was a result of a conservation she had with one of her best friends Sophia Loren. Ms. Loren suggested to Tina that if she still enjoys it, then go ahead and do it. Whether this is true, thank you Sophia Loren and thank you Tina! After an 8 year stage break, a performing legend continues to shine! Yes, the night of January 27, 2009 I (an African-American living in Berlin) and my partner (a relocated German from New York) were lucky enough to be a part of Tina's 20,000 person sold-out audience (40 including both nights).
We floated with excitement into the stadium and found our way to our seats on the main floor, in the middle section, 18 rows from the a Diva! All the "whys" of the bestowed Diva title were answered - the signature shakable hair, a smile so bright and welcoming you have to shout "Wherever you want to take me Girl!", legs that have walked one of the most well-known storied paths less traveled, and the swagger and moves that are now less frantic but no where near their Nut-Bush city limits! Shock - "we're watching Tina Turner!", Shock - "look where we're sitting!", Shock - "she's turning it out at the age of 70!", Super Shock - "her voice - still fantastic!" The appeal of Tina Turner is so broad that the median audience age range was 30 to 80, but there were also concert goers dipping into the low 20's. Picture it - we in our 40's (gorgeous), a guy in the row in front of us in his 20's / 30's, and it front of him was a married couple pushing 80. Now for a few of the many highlights.
Tina travels with her own complete stage setup including the signature ramp which separates from the main stage to extend into and hover over the audience. The production sets were over the top, including one for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (yes, she was white-wigged and costumed with the cast), and a tribute to 007 Goldeneye which included background screen images, dancing Bond girls, a 007, two gigantic gold metallic ying-yang pieces that slowly rose from the stage high into the sky, closed together to form a circular golden-eye, then lit up like a Spielberg/Lucas spaceship, opened, and Tina came through the bright light wearing (I believe) a Bob Mackie black gown singing Golden Eye! [This is the part where you scream at the top of your lungs - we did!].
Everyone has their moment-in-waiting; that moment when it all comes together and NO ONE can tell you that you are not on stage in the midst of one of the most famous musical introductions "You know, I think you'd like to hear something from us niccce and eeeeasy....." A feeling came over me...I was about to loose my it reflected on the countless times I have performed this song, my favorite karaoke song...a warm feeling that slowing moves into an out-of-body experience as my hips begin to swagger from side to side in conjunction with shoulders, while one arm starts to pendulum swing from the elbow down...."and then, and then, and then, we're going to take the end of this song and do it nice and rough because that's the way we do Proud Mary". Well that's all it took for me to explode into a million pieces of happy-joy-joy!
We jumped, shouted, screamed, and "shook a tail feather" as an entire stadium erupted to their dancing feet! We had been transported and was there for the ride all the way to the blissful end of what makes a legend be simply Tina, to be Simply The Best!