Fans' love drives Turner to tour
October 6, 2008
Edna Gundersen • USA Today •
Buzz up! Eight years after a farewell world tour, Tina Turner stepped onstage Wednesday night in Kansas City to launch an extravagant 36-date North American arena tour. What's love got to do with it? Everything.
"It never stopped," she says of fans' demand for her return. "People want to see you live. Even Sophia Loren asked me, 'When are you going back to work? You were born with a gift. You have a responsibility.' She made me feel like it was a duty. Those Italians work forever."
Turner, 68, felt as if she had been touring forever when she retreated in 2000. "I started when I was 20," she says. "To be home and out of the business felt good. I didn't miss the press, the lack of privacy, living in hotels."
Q: So why come back?
A: "I wouldn't want to diminish my credibility, so if I'm ever going to do it, now is the time. I'm in shape. And once I saw some of the Bob Mackie costumes, I started getting excited."
Turner promises a spectacle with four dancers, Toni Basil's choreography and a stage designed by British architect Mark Fisher, who created backdrops for U2, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Turner dreamed up a splashy entrance inspired by "Pirates of the Caribbean."
The running order loosely follows the track list of hits compilation "Tina!," out this week, with crowd favorites "Proud Mary," "What's Love Got to Do With It" and "Private Dancer."
A DJ will stoke the crowd before the show, which includes an intermission. "I might need a break," Turner says. "I've always given a full rock 'n' roll show and plowed straight through. Instead of running around so much, I'm making it a little easier on myself."
Turner's so-called farewell tour racked up $110 million from 89 shows to become 2000's top tour and the highest-grossing trek ever by a female artist (since topped by Madonna), according to Billboard Boxscore.
Billboard touring editor Ray Waddell predicts more of the same. "She's one of those perennial draws -- solid box office whenever she goes out. She is known as one of the most dynamic live performers ever.
"And there has to be a sense that there won't be that many more opportunities to see her fabulous legs in high heels stalking the stage."
Turner's return may surprise her more than fans. "I never wanted to be out here all my life," she says. "But my music doesn't sound dated. It's still standing strong. Like me."