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Concert Review

TD Banknorth Garden - November 16, 2008

Boston - Entertainment | If there is a fountain of youth, Tina Turner clearly has access to it.

Pictures by Laurel Herring.

On the verge of 69, Turner looked, sounded and moved like a woman roughly half her age during a wild, rollicking show at the TD Banknorth Garden last night, the first of a two-night stand.

Anyone who saw Turner’s rusty Grammy Awards performance with Beyonce can put that image to bed. This was Tina in top form.

The Queen of Rock clarified her place in the pantheon of music artists early on, appearing on a regal platform high above the stage with her signature shock of brown hair framing her like a crown.

Yes, it was that kind of night dramatic entrances, pyrotechnics, giant screens, elaborate lighting, multiple costume changes - all of the costumes fabulous, many of them short and glittery. Turner is on her first tour in eight years, and it was all about spectacle as big and bold as the artist herself.

But most of the high-tech glitz served to enhance her star power, not detract from it, as she firmed up the show with gritty, soaring vocals and sassy showmansip. The lone weak spot was an interesting but slightly bizarre pack of weapon-wielding dancers she called ninjas, who performed during costume-change interludes.

Otherwise, Turner’s spunk kept things going in the right direction.

She led off her set with “Steamy Windows” and “Typical Male,” writhing with her backup dancers then giving full attention to the mike for a rousing “River Deep - Mountain High” and the uncompromising “Better Be Good To Me.”

“We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” featured Turner as the character Aunty Entity in full futuristic wasteland costume, while “Acid Queen” found her strutting around the stage in a long red gown - not to worry, she whipped that off to reveal a short red dress for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” after which she schooled the audience on how to say the song’s title phrase.

“I want you to do it with attitude,” she said. “It makes a difference.”

Yes, it does.

“Private Dancer” proved she can tone it down and embrace the nuances of a song, as did a series of subdued numbers after a half-hour intermission, including the Beatles’ “Help,” and a rich, bongo-bolstered version of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”Turner was seated for that segment, but that didn’t last long. She was up and jumping for the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll (But I Like It).”

Apparently tireless, she teased the crowd with a long lead-in to her signature “Proud Mary,” which chugged along at half-speed before working up to full steam, then delivered a frenetic “Nutbush City Limits” during the encore as if she hadn’t already been performing for two hours, prancing and stomping around the stage like she owned it. Which, for the night, she did.


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