Ageless legend returns to South Florida!!
– review of the show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Ft. Lauderdale).
Patti LaBelle and I go way back. Starting in the 1960’s when Elton John was the piano player for Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells through her mega group LaBelle straight into her solo career. Like Patti, I myself like to belt out a song every once in a while, kicking my high heel shoes off in the midst of an emotional musical crescendo. It’s quite a sight to behold – a once in a lifetime treat for my neighbors I’m sure.
Seeing Ms. LaBelle a handful of times over the years there is one thing for certain: it promises to be one heck of an entertaining evening. Think about it, Patti has been in the music business for round-about fifty-seven years. During that time she’s had unbelievable success along with personal highs and lows. Not once did she ever lose her grace, compassion or faith. Her personal perseverance may be one of the reasons why her fan base has remained as devoted as they have all these many years. This evening at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts was no exception. The audience arrived ready to party with the Queen Diva and party we did.
Beginning the evening with one of her signature songs, New Attitude, Patti appeared on stage in a striking gold lame top, white skirt and gold matching pumps. Strutting her stuff the way only she can she was a pure delight from her opening note. If you take one thing away from seeing LaBelle live it’s this – her voice is as strong and clear as ever. She is a true vocal powerhouse in every sense of the word. Never off key, always in control, even when she forgot the lyrics to Addicted to You. Her witty sense of humor as well as confident sense of self is ever present throughout her 90 minute set. She’s cool, calm, collected, and playful with the audience. Swapping “I love you,” back and forth with fans is genuine and appreciated on both sides of the stage. Walking back to the piano from time to time to check herself in a handheld mirror, she playfully fixed her hair and make-up, complained about getting out of her pumps and relayed personal quips. Before cranking in to her Beverly Hills Cop hit Stir It Up she gleefully posed for pictures for those lucky folks in the front rows as well as the many making their way to the front of the stage. Had I have been closer I would have been right there getting my own personal shots.
If You Asked Me To, On My Own, I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near), and Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is) were audience favorites. It wasn’t until she performed her rendition of If You Don’t Know Me By Now that everyone lost their minds. Not only was her version jaw dropping musically but the personal touches she added were perfection. Her brief monologue during the heartbreaking song went a little something like this: “I changed my wig, changed my dress.” BAM! off went the shoes flying through the air (our famous move): BOOM! drop the mic. Literally, she dropped the mic.
Every Praise Is to Our God took Gospel music to a new level. It was a joyous, rousing, testimony that had everyone on their feet and clapping along. It didn’t matter if you didn’t know all the words that was secondary. It was the emotion and power of Patti and her praise that drew everyone in.
Of course a Patti LaBelle concert wouldn’t be complete without possibly her biggest and most popular hit to date, Lady Marmalade. This evening we were treated to a special performance of the song. Bringing audience members up on stage to perform with her, Patti’s request was a simple one – you either need to be able to sing or dance. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much but the men who volunteered gave it a good old college try. I don’t think the ladies in the audience wanted to take the chance. It was magic, comical and downright fun. Her encore was one of my favorites, You Are My Friend. A movie screen dropped down behind the stage to play a montage of all the musicians and actors whom have passed over the years. This was Patti’s own personal memorium. Touching and heartbreaking, it gave us all a chance to pause and remember, to appreciate the greats of our world whom are no longer with us. Patti LaBelle live in concert in 2017 is a must see. Fans new and old will feel right at home listening to a voice that never gets old and is that of legend.