Review: Aretha Franklin shines in first Chene Park show

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Posted: 08/23/15, 8:30 AM EDT | Updated: 1 day ago

Review: Arthea Franklin shines in first Chene Park show
By Gatini Tinsley, Special to Digital First Media

DETROIT — Detroit’s own Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, made her first-ever appearance at Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheatre on Saturday, Aug. 22.

“This is my 50th year in the business. It’s about time,” Franklin noted during her 15-song, 90-minute set.

The Queen kicked things off with Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher)”, wearing an ensemble only someone with 19 Grammys and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could pull off on an August evening — a floor-length sequined gown accompanied by a waist length fur coat. “Until You Come Back To Me” was next, and Franklin gave props to Motown great Stevie Wonder, who she said wrote the song especially for her. Franklin got the crowd out of its seats to dance along to “Do Right Woman, “Do Right Man” and “Think” before “Chain of Fools,” during which she held her microphone toward the crowd for fans to sing-a-long.

At 73, Franklin can still belt out her songs in a manner that keeps them fresh and further solidifies her legendary status, which she proved particularly during her soulful, jazzy cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” that appeared on her most recent album, “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Divas.”

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She gave the audience some sass on “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” when she licked her finger and touched her hip while making a scorching sizzle sound.

Franklin enlisted four dancers in seductive, form-fitting red dresses during “Something He Can Feel.” “I taught these girls those moves,” she cracked. “They keep saying, ‘Ms. Franklin, can you please show me that move again?’ I told them you get a little older you know it naturally.” She chuckled and dipped her hips low for the audience, then grooved to the music as she worked her way back up.

Next, she asked a question that got everyone out their seats again; “How did you guys get here? You take the freeway? The Lodge?” before kicking into “Freeway Of Love.” A medley of gospel tunes that ended with Franklin playing the piano as she sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” took Chene Park back to Franklin’s roots in the church.

Ronald Isley, who opened for Franklin earlier in the evening with a 70-minute Isley Brothers’ set, dueted with Franklin on “Memories,” as pictures of a young Franklin over the years ran across the video screen. And the show ended the only way it could, with Franklin shaking hands and passing out roses to fans — and, of course, singing her signature anthem “Respect.”


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