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December 7, 2008

Hartford, XL Center

Review By ERIC R. DANTON- Photos by Elle Denneman

Tina Turner Rocks Hartford's XL Center

In case anyone had forgotten just how many different roles Tina Turner has played in music over the years, she came to Hartford Saturday on her first tour in eight years with a 20-song reminder.

"The show is a recap of my work done in the past," she announced early on at XL Center. It was certainly that, and a lot more besides. Turner is a holdover from the era when a show meant a show, a full-on spectacle of singers and dancers and a few surprises to say nothing of the dazzling amount of athleticism.

Turner just turned 69, but you'd never guess it. She radiated ferocious energy on stage, and held her own when she joined her four backup dancers in their complicated steps. Her voice is perhaps less precise than it once was, but she's as intense and emotional as ever, throwing her whole body into singing songs representing each of the overlapping epochs of her career.

There was the R&B period, well represented by "River Deep, Mountain High" and her smoldering cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." Then there was the rock 'n' roll era, which she covered with a Rolling Stones medley and with "Acid Queen," reprising her role from the movie version of the Who's rock opera "Tommy."

Speaking of movies, there was the soundtrack era, which featured the biggest production numbers of the night. First was "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)," the Grammy-nominated song from the 1985 film "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Sporting a blond wig similar to the one she wore in the movie, Turner sang underneath cage-like steel scaffolding while acrobatic dancers dressed like extras cavorted about her.

Later came "Goldeneye," her contribution to the James Bond oeuvre. After video screens showed clips mimicking the opening credits of a Bond film, and dancers acted out similar scenes on stage, a huge disc suspended at the back of the stage opened to reveal Turner on a platform.

After various other offerings from the '80s and '90s, including "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and "The Best," Turner closed with her iconic version of "Proud Mary." Cheers and applause rippled through the crowd when she kicked the song into high gear with a burst of energy.

Turner returned for a two-song encore. The second tune, "Be Tender With Me Baby," was overshadowed by the first,"Nutbush City Limits," during which a hydraulic arm rose from the stage and swung Turner out over the crowd, where she demanded the audience help with a call and response.



 
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