Possibly the greatest singer of all time made her way to Orlando Florida this past weekend. I have always wanted to see Aretha in concert and I have been looking forward to it since it was announced. I am sad to say that it was a bit disappointing.
I know that when you have such reverence and high expectations for someone, that you are setting yourself up for a fall, but I don't think that is the reason that the concert was disappointing. It was disappointing because Aretha just didn't seem to be into being there in the first place. She wasn't "into" the whole thing. Maybe because this was at Universal Studios and not at a fancy/expensive venue. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she is just tired of touring. It might even be a combination of all of these reasons. After performing for about an hour and a half (no complaints there) she left the stage without singing "Respect" which is, as everyone knows, the classic Aretha song. She pulled the classic, leave the stage move and everyone thought that she would come right back out for an encore to do that one last song. The crowd was chanting and everything and the band was still sitting there as though they were also waiting for her...but she never came back out. Slowly, the band started packing up one by one but they also seemed confused. Eventually, they brought up the lights and everyone headed home but the whole thing was just strange. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if she saves that big song for the expensive concerts and not the large venues.
Either way, she is amazing. She is one of the few people that I put in my "gifted" category. She has a God-given gift that very few people on the planet have. Sure, lots of people can sing...and sing very well. But Aretha is on a whole different plane. No one on Earth can sing like her. She has complete control over her voice, incredible power, and the whole thing is effortless. she doesn't strain...she doesn't run out of breath. She just sings. When people say that someone can sing, Aretha Franklin epitomizes that. Aretha Franklin could sing the phone book and I would be mesmerized. I once saw her perform on some awards show (the grammys one year, don't remember when) when Pavarotti was supposed to sing an opera song but he was too sick and unable to perform. Aretha stepped in on extremely short notice (I heard only an hour to learn the song) and sang this amazing and beautiful opera song...in Italian! Are you kidding me? And I was watching...it was beautiful...just amazing. I mean, you think of Aretha as motown and soul, which is true. But this woman can sing everything.
A lot of people claim to be divas and call themselves Divas, but Aretha is the only Diva in my book. I think the word was invented for her since there is no other way to describe her greatness. If you ever get a chance to see her perform, do it. Despite the slight disappointment I mentioned earlier, I would see her again in a heartbeat.