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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisAdding to what's already been a banner season at Joliet's Rialto Square Theatre (Buddy Guy, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Sheryl Crow) was a packed performance by the 50 year recording and touring veteran Dionne Warwick. The legendary soul diva is no stranger to the hallowed and acoustically inviting halls having previously taped a PBS special there in the 1980s, though these days, her visibility is rising once again.
For starters, she just finished a run on this season's "Celebrity Apprentice" alongside fellow singers like Meat Loaf, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath and LaToya Jackson. And to coincide with this particular outing, she recorded the brand new CD Only Trust Your Heart (Red), which pays tribute to various jazz, soul, blues and pop ballads from yesteryear penned by Sammy Cahn (who's credits span Frank Sinatra to Sarah Vaughan).
Of course, the main reason for the fanfare came from Warwick's celebrated catalogue, which is second only to "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin in terms of the most charting singles by a female artist. Though her voice isn't as robust as her glory years, the 70-year-old star still possessed a velvety touch as she breezed through staples like "Walk On By," "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Message To Michael" with a five piece band.
From the current collection, she put a soft-spoken spin on "Only Trust Your Heart" and demonstrated her elegant jazz stylings throughout "I'll Never Stop Loving You." Such cuts served as classy bookends to several more gems that have contributed to her personal history, including the gospel-infused hand-clapper "I Say a Little Prayer," the bossa nova groove "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and the sentimental "I'll Never Love This Way Again."
As the short but sweet 75 minute evening came to a close, Warwick once again raised awareness for AIDS research with her anthem "That's What Friends Are For." It's hard to believe the track just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and though duet partners Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John were missed, the headliner coaxed the crowd into joining her for the inspiring lyrics. Though all of the night revolved around memories, the staple "What the World Needs Now Is Love" suggested that the more times change, the more lessons there are to be learned from yesterday.
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