Monday, November 9, 2009

Visiting royalty

And I don't mean Charles and Camilla.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I have several musical idols, but of the women, three in particular stand out: Ella, Janis, and Aretha. (See how I did that there? I didn't even have to write their last names, and you knew who I meant.)(And if you didn't, well, you should have. Seriously, dude/dudette. Get some education.)(Okay, enough with the parenthetical asides.) (No, really.)

Anyway, I know my chances of seeing Ella or Janis are pretty minimal, given that they are no longer with us; but Aretha's still here, and I am here to tell you: she can still kick a tune around.

Her voice may be a bit breathy at times, and she looked like she was having a bit of trouble shaking her booty -- because even queens can't fight age -- but last night's concert at Ottawa's National Arts Centre was still a rip-snorting success.

Mitchell, bless him, bought me tickets (in the Orchestra! Near the stage!) for my birthday, and I'd been looking forward to seeing the Queen of Soul in person for over a month. It was totally worth every second of anticipation. Aretha did it up right: 20-piece band; four back-up singers who looked like the kind of women you'd want to have on your team in a pinch; her son, Teddy White, on lead guitar; and oh! That voice!

The audience leapt to its feet as she swept onto the stage, and for nearly two hours it was like some kind of soul-inspired aerobics class -- I don't think I've ever seen staid, reserved Ottawans jumping up and down like that before.

Respect. Chain of Fools
. Think. Each song brought the audience higher and higher, hooting and hollering and clapping. By the end, when Aretha rocked a massive, gut-thumping gospel version of Bridge Over Troubled Water, we were practically airborne.

The best compliment of the night came from Mitchell, an avowed atheist: "At one point there, I started to get what gospel's all about." He felt it, I felt it, we all felt it.

I wish you had, too.

1 comment:

Kathleen Taylor said...

wow! Sounds like a totally amazing evening (and I like speaking parenthetically too).