Tina Turner remains hot, charismatic in Amway Arena concert, Orlando.
Jim Abbott | Sentinel Music Critic
Tina Turner encapsulated the essence of her dynamic performance on Wednesday at Amway Arena within the title of the opening "Steamy Windows." At age 68 — What? This woman can't be 68! — Turner remains amazingly hot and charismatic.
Although accompanied by enough pyro to burn down a village and a stage equipped with more contraptions than a Swiss Army knife, Turner refused to be overshadowed.
After all these years, everything about her is still distinctive, whether it was her silhouette in shadows of the spotlight in the opening moments, the frenetic dancing or that husky voice."River Deep, Mountain High," "Better Be Good to Me," "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Private Dancer" and "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" were all included in the first of two hourlong sets.
Most of the numbers were accented by special effects that popped out of every corner of the big, two-tiered stage. In addition to the pulsating lights and flames, Turner and her singers and dancers were positioned on a variety of catwalks, towering pedestals and metallic frames.
To close the first set, a mini-version of "Thunderdome" was embellished by indoor fireworks.
Amid all the activity, Turner didn't talk much to the nearly sold-out crowd, other than to make joyful mention of the week's big news event:
"We've got a new president!" she shouted, after blowing big kisses to the audience. "And you've got me!"
After charging through the opening set like a locomotive, Turner executed a slow build in the second.
Accompanied by her two backup singers and a few members of her versatile seven-piece band, she went almost "unplugged" for a gospel-tinged take on "Help." The introspective treatment exposed the vulnerable aspects of the lyrics in a way that is masked in the exuberance of the Beatles' original.
That song and a tender "Let's Stay Together" put a spotlight on Turner's evocative, idiosyncratic voice without all the visual distractions. It's still rough and utterly reliable.
Speaking of rough, Turner showed that she can still go "nice and rough" on "Proud Mary," turning the obligatory signature hit into a spirited 10-minute soul revue.
Even if she doesn't spin as much in that song now as she did back in the day, Turner still had enough energy left for a rousing "Nutbush City Limits."
Leaning over the railing as a long metallic arm carried her out above the audience on the floor, Turner was still in perpetual motion — and plenty hot.
Jim Abbott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-6213.