Mlive: Aretha Franklin commands respect at hometown Detroit concert

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DETROIT, MI – There aren’t many venues where you can pull up your boat by the stage to hear a concert. There are also not many venues where both the opening act and the headliner are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Aretha Franklin took the stage in her hometown of Detroit. But, before the “Queen of Soul” got started, the one and only Isley Brothers gave the crowd a terrific warm-up.



The Isley Brothers:
You won’t find a much bigger opening act. The Isley Brothers have had 16 albums in the Top 40. In 1992, they become members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers open for Aretha Franklin at Chene Park in Detroit on August 22, 2015

The group still has Ron Isley on lead vocals, along with Ernie Isley killing it on guitar.

They played some of their biggest hits for the Chene park crowd, including “Who’s That Lady,” “Between the Sheets,” “Footsteps In The Dark,” and “Shout.”

Ron Isley’s sweet sounding voice, along with Ernie’s command of the lead guitar had the crowd on its feet. A nice treat before the “Queen” took the stage.

Aretha Franklin:
In 1987, “The Queen of Soul” became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As she told her hometown crowd at Chene Park, “I’ve been in the business now for 50 years.” And, if tonight’s performance is any indication, she has plenty of great years left.

Aretha Franklin
Detroit’s own, Aretha Franklin performs at Chene Park in Detroit on August 22, 2015

The “Queen” took the stage a little later than expected at around 10:30pm, but she was worth the wait. Her ensemble featured a 12 piece orchestra with a conductor, along with two percussions, guitar and bass, a piano player, and multiple backup singers.

She started things off with a cover of the great Jackie Wilson song, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”

The “Queen” mixed in some gospel songs along with some of her other big hits, including “Think,” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Freeway of Love.”

Aretha mostly let her legendary voice carry the show accompanied by the terrific sounding band. She occasionally sat down and played the piano, including on a more than 10 minute version of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” earning her a nice standing ovation.

The show capped off around 12:30am with the song everybody knew was coming, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”

You can’t help but respect everything the “Queen of Soul” has done for music and for Detroit. There’s more to come as well, says Aretha, who told the crowd she’s planning to open a night club in Detroit in the near future. Maybe she’ll book one of the biggest acts she can find as an opening night… The “Queen” herself.

Edward Pevos is the Mlive entertainment reporter for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter @PaparazzoPevos


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