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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 special.

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)’ (Interval)

‘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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