When the Artpark lineup was fully announced and Aretha Franklin appeared on it for a Tuesday show, I had to do a double take. Surely a star of her caliber would be playing the indoor venue and not outdoors. But Tuesday evening as the hot day wore down there she was alongside conductor HB Barnum and his orchestra delivering her trademark vocals to the Artpark faithful.
Franklin opened with the Jackie Wilson cover (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher before jumping into the Stevie Wonder penned “Until You Come Back To Me”. She still sounded in good voice and spirits despite some health issues that plagued her in recent years.
With her tour dates scattered about, sometimes seven to ten days apart, they had missed music director Barnum’s birthday. Following a lengthy break during which Barnum kept the crowd entertained with some instrumentals performed by his orchestra, Franklin returned to the stage with a birthday cake in tow and presented and sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
Next Franklin took a turn at the piano for “Amazing Grace” and the seldom played “Sweet Bitter Love” neither of which appeared on the written set list. Franklin is no stranger to changing up her set depending on what she feels like playing even after she originally wrote it.
After all these years it is amazing that Franklin can still sing and sound as great as she does. For anyone who has not seen the “Queen Of Soul” live before I say if you ever get a chance again do not pass it up. She didn’t get her title for nothing.
Opening the show was comedian Jonathan Slocumb who got the Artpark crowd loosened up. Franklin’s son Kecalf also known as Kpoint came out for a quick song to warm up the crowd before his mother took over.
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (Jackie Wilson cover)
Until You Come Back to Me
Chain of Fools
Happy Birthday to H.B Barnum /Happy (Pharrel Williams cover)
Old Landmark (W. Herbert Brewster)
Sweet Bitter Love
Baby, Baby, Baby
Freeway of Love
The Way We Were