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TINA TURNER, Manchester MEN, 31st March, 2009
The girl from Nutbush turns 70 in November so it’s really quite remarkable that
she has decided to go on the road one last time. She’s unquestionably one of the
greatest live performers of all time and gives many of her male peers (and
younger) a run for their money.
I never would have thought she’d hit the road again so I couldn’t turn down the
chance of seeing her live; her stage shows have always been something quite
There is a reason why she has sold more tickets than any other solo artist in
history. It’s a 90 date sold out tour that has already played to huge arenas in
North America and the dates in Europe have been equally as big: amongst them,
five dates at the O2 in London and four at Manchester’s MEN.
It proves she is still enormously popular despite not having made any new
material in almost a decade. Of course the burning question is: can she still do
it on stage? The reply is a big YES.
She showed an incredible amount of energy and charisma, running around the stage
and dancing in tune with her backing dancers. Coming down from a platform about
16 feet in the air she opened with ‘Steamy Windows’ followed by ‘Typical Male’
but it during ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ when everybody went mental.
Perhaps the best part of the night was an acoustic set (after a 30 minute
interval) which showed just how unique her vocals are: she’s lost none of that
gruff soulful voice that give us some great R&B tunes in the sixties. Surely her
version of ‘Help!’ is the greatest Beatles cover ever (if it’s not than it is
probably the Ike & Tina version of ‘Come Together.’)
She’s always been a man’s woman and photos of her singing with rock elite like
Mick Jagger, Bryan Adams, David Bowie and Eric Clapton were shown on the three
big screens as she sang ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘It’s Only Rock & Roll.’
Some of the stage effects were a bit too Las Vegas and the group of gymnasts
known as The Ninjas may have offered a visual distraction for the audience while
Turner nipped backstage to get changed, but it was on the OTT side. Thankfully
the music was powerful enough to give equal balance.
Her band is brilliant; it’s been pretty consistent throughout her career with
only minor changes to the line-up. The core trio of drummer Jack Bruno,
guitarist John Miles and keyboardist Ollie Marland have been with Turner for
over 20 years and ex-Wishbone Ash guitarist Laurie Wisefield last joined Turner
for her massive ‘Break Every Rule’ tour in the late eighties so he is no
stranger to her musical family.
The evening was a celebration of 50 years in music with every phase of her
career represented. She can still dance to ‘Proud Mary’ and a giant claw-like
platform that raised Turner above the audience during the penultimate song
‘Nutbush City Limits’ shows she still eager to get as close to her fans as
possible. If this road jaunt really is the final tour then what a way to go out.
As Turner sings: what you get it is what you see.
‘Steamy Windows’ / ‘Typical Male’ / ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ / ‘What You Get
Is What You See’ / ‘Better Be Good To Me’ / ‘Acid Queen’ / ‘What’s Love Got To
Do With It?’ / ‘Private Dancer’ / ‘We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)’
‘Help!’ / ‘Let's Stay Together’ / ‘Undercover Agent For the Blues’ / ‘I Can't
Stand The Rain’ / ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ / ‘It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like
It)’ / ‘GoldenEye’ / ‘Addicted To Love’ / ‘The Best’ / ‘Proud Mary’
‘Nutbush City Limits’ / ‘Be Tender With Me Baby’
Review by Neil Daniels
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