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Review and photos by Mary AndrewsGladys Knight not only has a string of unforgettable hit songs to her credit, but she has a knack for covering hits from other artists that makes the songs truly her own. As a result, she has become the undisputed "singer's-singer." The sold out crowd was able to reap the benefits of Ms. Knight's talent and they were able to testify, sing, and clamor for more.
Once the show started with the song "I Want You," the curtains opened to reveal four background singers and a five-piece band. Within a minute of the music starting, Ms. Knight made her entrance on the stage. She was met with an immediate standing ovation from her fans. The love affair between Ms. Knight and her fans continued throughout the 75-minute concert. The classics included "The Best Thing Ever Happened To Me," "I've Got To Use My Imagination," "If I Were Your Woman," and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine." One of the highlights was her heart-wrenching performance of "The Way We Were." When she hit the lyric "things too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget," it was obvious she had lived every line in the song. After she finished the tune, she remarked, "I knew when I stepped on stage tonight yawl was going to make me hurt myself (laughter). I'd do it for you. Yes, I will, I love you. You were worth it! We cannot forget those bridges. You are a bridge for me. You've got to think about those bridges and the things that brought you across."
Next, the audience was out of their seat for a joyful, revivalist version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." Clapping, dancing and singing were key to raising the mood (and roof) and was far more upbeat than the previous song. Gladys Knight's vocal instrument remains incredibly rich, resonant, and smooth no matter what style of music she sings.
She spoke of the "Pips," You remember the Pips, right? They raised me you know. And they were young too. And they didn't know how to do that. We started out with a chaperone. She was star struck and they sent her home. We opened up for Jerry Butler, Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke. Those were wonderful, wonderful people. She would go to the party (after the show) and leave me in the hotel. They called my parents when we got home, she didn't show up no more. You have to remember that we were so young then and the oldest was 15. Their idea of raising me was to keep me right close to them. One of them had to babysit me at night. And I grew up and got to dating age. I thought something was wrong with me. Nobody would talk to me. I remember this so very vividly. We were on tour. We were walking down the street one evening after we got done with work. There was my good friend Eddie Kendrick of the Temptations. I asked him, ‘you know what? Is there something wrong with me? None of the guys say they like me or nothing like that.' He said, 'awe girl, ain't nothin' wrong with you! The Pips been threating people all these years.'(Laughter) Any way, I ran across one of them. He wants to come out. This is my big brother, Merald ‘Bubba' Knight." Bubba managed to kick up the energy another notch!
The set ended with "Midnight Train to Georgia" and an encore of gospel songs. The curtain closed to mark the end of a great show and proved that there is no expiration date on Gladys Knight's music!
1. I Want You
2. Love Overboard
3. Loves In Need
4. Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
5. I Hope You Dance (Lee Ann Womack cover)
6. I've Got to Use My Imagination
7. When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars cover)
8. If I Were Your Woman
9. The Way We Were
(Barbra Streisand cover)
10. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
(Smokey Robinson & The Miracles cover)
11. Neither One Of Us
12. Let's Stay Together/Yesterday (featuring Bubba Knight)
13. Happy (featuring Bubba Knight)
(Pharrell Williams cover)
14. Midnight Train to Georgia
15. For the Love Of God/ Let the Church Say Amen
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