Review by Scotti Moore
Electricity! That sums up the atmosphere inside The Motor City Casino’s Soundboard Saturday night. It was a gathering of who’s who combined with her dedicated fan base, the Soundboard was buzzing with excitement to witness the return of Aretha Franklin to the stage. The homegrown “Queen of Soul” was about to rekindle the undying love affair with her beloved Detroit.
Just to be in the same city with “The Queen” is incredible enough let alone the opportunity to bare witness to what she has blessed the world with for so many years. The anticipation was finally met when The Aretha Franklin Orchestra started the show with a beautiful instrumental medley of Ms. Franklin’s history of hits. When Aretha finally hit the stage she was greeted with a standing ovation proving the earned respect of her legendary status. As she waived to her fans I couldn’t help noticing how good she looked after recovering from her medically induced absence. Graced in a beautiful glowing white gown, Aretha brought the power instantly with her rendition of Detroit’s own Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher.” Then it was one hit after another with songs like “Your Love” and “Sparkle” the Queen of Soul was just getting started with her book of hits. Aretha had a few surprises throughout the night from accenting her hit “Day Dreaming” with The Detroit-Windsor Ballet Dancers to a spotlight performance by Detroit’s St. James Choir.
Franklin continued to get roars from the Queens court with hits like “Chain of Fools” and “Never Loved a Man.” Aretha even had a little diva moment by instructing the sound engineer on how the mix should be adjusted before she went into Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.” Next came the most heartfelt moment of the evening when Aretha moved into a tribute to her dear departed friend Whitney Houston, who lovingly always called her Auntie Aretha, with the song “I Will Always Love You.”
The show wouldn’t be complete with out going back to her roots in Gospel. The Soundboard was instantly transformed into a church atmosphere as the choir returned to accompany Ms. Franklin with a very soulful version of “Amazing Grace” and “Time for a Miracle” while she acknowledged her father’s famous New Bethel Church which is displayed on the large screen behind her amazing orchestra. Aretha closes out the night with, of course, her signature song “Respect” which judging by the reaction of the crowd she hasn’t lost one bit of. This evening solidified the love affair between Detroit and “The Queen of Soul” is stronger than ever proving the Motor City is where Legends are born!