Tina Turner — 24/7

This is a retro-post. I put this online 24 December 2005 using the date it was originally sent out.

Exclusive permission for TEXT distribution was granted to International Tina Turner Fan Club for reproduction in their newsletter. This ended up appearing as their cover article, a big honour indeed.

I first heard Tina Turner back when I was a child, but I didn’t fall in love with her until the Private Dancer album came out. I first heard the song ‘Private Dancer’ on KLOK-FM radio in San Francisco, California when I was in college. It was definitely love at first listen. I’ve purchased every album of Tina’s since then on the day it was released. I was so impatient for 24/7 when it was released in Europe but not here, that I ordered it from Amazon.UK so I could get it right away. I have to say that 24/7 is her best album since Private Dancer. I am just in awe of how very good it is.

Every time Tina has come to South Florida, I’ve gone to her show — except once when I couldn’t get tickets. So, when it was announced that the 24/7 tour was coming to South Florida, I was extremely excited. Unfortunately, bad luck prevented me from getting tickets to her show here; it sold out very quickly, and the lines for tickets were very long. I tried, standing in line whilst banging on the redial button of a cell phone. All this was to no avail when 30 minutes later they announced there were no more tickets. I left very disappointed.

I wanted seats so badly, I finally broke down and went to a ticket broker and paid an embarrassingly large amount of money for two lower-bowl seats to the 15 April 2000 show. Then, a week later, when it was announced they had added another show on 16 April, I decided to get tickets to that as well. Of course, with ticket sales running so quickly, I only got the proverbial nose-bleed seats. I was now much poorer, but still very happy. After all, you can NEVER have too much Tina Turner.

Some days later, I got the latest issue of Tina Turner Fan Club Magazine. As always there were some inserts, which I did not immediately pay attention to — I put them aside for later. Like most fans, I read the magazine first and check the inserts afterwards. Imagine my surprise some time later when I discovered on one of the inserts a note from Elle offering tickets to members. Upon reading that, I immediately sent a fax off to her to inquire about it. I also offered my services as a writer to detail my whole experience. I didn’t hear back and was disappointed. But almost three weeks later, I heard back from Elle asking for my credit card number for the tickets — and they were to be front row seats, as well. Needless to say, I was very, very happy. So happy, in fact, I couldn’t believe my luck.

National Car Rental Center (NCRC) in Sunrise, Florida (Sunrise is near Fort Lauderdale) is a relatively new building and as a result the staff are often not very organized. I was very nervous about the tickets actually being there. I tried to pick them up a few days before the show, but they don’t allow this. You must pick up “will-call” tickets on the day of the show and only two hours or less before showtime. So, I was stuck with a conundrum since I also had the tickets I had purchased. In a leap of faith, I gave away my other expensive tickets in the hope there would be no problems with my even better seats. Luck, happily, was with me.

The day of the first show, Saturday 15 April 2000, I arrived at NCRC two hours prior to the show, and happily there were no problems with getting my seats. I provided photo ID, my Tina Turner Fan Club ID card, and signed a receipt that I had picked them up. They were in section ‘B’ (the front section, stage right) and row two (seats eight and nine). The seats were so wonderful I cannot begin to describe it. I always told my friends, only partially joking, that my lifelong ambition was to sit so close to the stage that Tina’s sweat would drip down on me.

The Saturday show was scheduled for 8pm (20:00). At about 8:05pm (20:05), Janice Robinson opened the show with a four song set. She’s got an amazing voice, and you should remember her name because you’ll hear much more about her in the years to come. I think it’s great that such a wonderful newcomer is given a chance by both Tina Turner and Lionel Richie.

Then, Lionel Richie, performed for about an hour or so, finishing around 930pm (21:30). He did one song, called ‘Cinderella’ from his new forthcoming album (June 2000 release), and lots of his old hits from his solo and Commodore days. He is a great performer, and I really enjoyed his show. He really got the crowd going and most of them were on their feet for the whole show. I always liked Lionel Richie but was never a huge fan, yet I really warmed to him because he was such a good showman. He talked with audience, much as Tina does, and he even did a spot of humour. I can see why Tina picked him for her opening act. After he finished there was an intermission while the crew worked the stage preparing everything for Tina’s entrance.

And then as 10 o’clock (22:00) in the evening rolled around, the lights went out. Tina came on stage in a blaze of lights, glory, and thunderous applause, looking radiant as she always does. I would do you a disservice if I didn’t describe the set. It’s right out of the barricades of Les Misérables complete with the ability to separate in two halves. It’s a three level stage piece. The ground and first levels each contain three ‘cubbyholes’ and the second level (I suppose you could call it the roof) is fixed so the dancers can dance on it. It splits in the middle and each half rolls off to the side leaving a large digital monitor in the centre of the stage. On the first two levels you have the band — one member in each cubbyhole — except for the guitarists who are on stage with Tina.

Tina came out singing and after the first two songs, she said she would give us a tour of her career and she did. She started with ‘Higher’ which she recorded in 1960, and went through selected songs until ‘Better Be Good To Me’ — all the while on the background screen were clips from the past and present. It was vocally in synchronization, so even when you saw the clip of Tina in ‘Tommy’ for instance, she was singing right along: only it was our 2000 Tina and not the 1970s Tina providing the vocals. This was a wonderful effect.

The audience was really into the music and participated a great deal. I have to give some credit to Lionel Richie because he really did a wonderful job of warming the crowd up. The whole concert, Tina kept telling the crowd, with a sultry, luscious wink, ‘I know what you want’ and she continued to tease us through innumerable costume changes, set changes, and various pyrotechnics displays. She, of course, did a bit of audience participation with her boy/girl reading of ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ — which is a carryover from her Break Every Rule tour, but it still works, oh-so-well.

Finally, she gave ‘it’ to us, that being ‘Proud Mary’ which may be one of her defining songs. She suddenly started and stopped several times — teasing the audience — each time to a loud sound and light display, alternating between ‘rough’ and ‘soft’ before launching into the song for real after the third tease. The crowd went wild beyond all description, and happily she let the song go on for quite a while. She’s such an energetic, exhilarating performer, it’s amazing.

To close the show, she sang her old standard ‘Nutbush City Limits.’ She used the swinging mechanical arm that reaches out over the audience which she has used in previous tours. She stands on the platform at the end and also walks up and down the arm as it waves over the crowd, singing directly to the audience, and each person feels like the song is being performed just for him or her.

The second show was Sunday, 15 April 2000, also at NCRC; all times were 30 minutes earlier than the Saturday show. Arriving again at will-call two hours prior to the show, I got the same row and section as before, but seats nine and ten. Whilst observing the stage before the show, one of the security guards behind the stage blockade started talking to me and asked how I got the seats and so on. He was very friendly and just before the show, he gave me a copy of the set list from the previous night. I have made some notes and reproduced it at the end of the article for those who’d like to see it. The list the guard gave me also included handwritten notes about costume changes and set piece movements, which leads me to believe it belonged to one of the stagehands.

I also met a nice person from Germany who was over here for the concert that also got the tickets in the same way. It’s really nice to meet other Tina fans. There were quite a mix of fans in various age groups, but almost all seemed happy to be there, no matter if they were 15, 40, or 60 years old. And there were certainly people from all those ages and in-between.

The Miami Herald on 4-17-00 gave Tina’s concert one of the best concert reviews I’ve read in a long time. They called the tour ‘a winner’ — and how. Here’s a woman more than three times the age of Britney Spears who can sing her guts out, while dancing, while dodging fireballs on moving sets, and while clutching a mike (with attached cord, mind you), and she does it all in high heels for two hours — almost twice the stage time [Britney Spears] did on a recent tour stop. Yes, it was a great show. I certainly feel the very best show of all the Tina concerts I’ve ever seen. Wow!

The rumour is Tina will never tour again and that this was her last concert tour. If so, I will be very sad. (Tina, do you really want to make me sad?) I have to say that if it really was her last concert tour, she has gone out with grace, dignity, class, style, and at the very top of her form. Tina is a very unique individual. She is beautiful on the outside, and also beautiful on the inside. And for that, she has my eternal respect.
“The Official Set List”

Fool In Love
Acid Queen
River Deep, Mountain High
We Don’t Need Another Hero
Get Back (on set list, crossed out and not performed)
Better Be Good To Me
Through the Grapevine
Private Dancer
Let’s Stay Together
What’s Love Got To Do With It
When The Heartache Is Over
Baby I’m A Star (Tina didn’t sing this; she was off stage preparing)
Whatever You Want
24/7 (switched with next song)
The Best (switched with previous song)
Proud Mary She performed Addicted to Love but it is not on the set list (maybe to replace Hold On?)

Nutbush City Limits
Hold On (she didn’t sing this either night)

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