Air Canada Centre, Toronto - November 13, 2008
By JANE STEVENSON - Sun Media
TORONTO - A lot of people have gone through life putting Tina Turner on a pedestal.
So it only seems fitting that's how the 68-year-old soul legend and Rock And Roll Hall of Famer first appeared last night, perched high above her stage on an elevated platform, as she opened her sold-out show at the Air Canada Centre.
Turner has miraculously come back from retirement to put on her first tour in eight years and brought a nine piece band and three eye-catching female dancers along with her and she's a downright inspiration, performing for two hours still at the top of her game.
She has said it was her memorable pairing with Beyonce back in February at the Grammys that inspired her to hit the road again.
Thankfully, the eternally beautiful and impossibly glamorous Turner still has it -- from her unbelievable energy, that strong, raspy voice, those shapely legs and backside initially showed off to great effect in skintight black bike shorts, and boy, can she ever move, and in major high heels no less.
"Are you ready?" Turner initially screamed after an extended applause and a roar of approval following the first two songs culled from the '80s -- Steamy Windows and Typical Male.
"Is everybody alright? It's very nice to see all of you here this evening. The show is a recap of my work done in the past. I hope you like it."
She then reached way back into her five-decade spanning back catalogue and offered up the 1966 classic River Deep, Mountain High, which was followed by two more '80s tunes -- What You Get is What You See and Better be Good to Me.
All the while, Turner ran around her stage, flirted with band members, belted out vocals with her two female backup singers (including Lisa Fischer of Rolling Stones fame), and traded funky dance moves with her lithe dancers.
The only cheesy parts were the Amway commercials (a tour sponsor) that played on her video screen before the show and during her 40-minute intermission, and a lame segment featuring two male dancers who had supposedly snuck on stage and tried to outrun two security guards while Turner snuck off for her first costume change.
Still, the wait proved to be worth it, as she returned in a flowing red sequined dress and matching high heels for Acid Queen, from The Who's rock opera Tommy, and then disrobed down to a red sequined mini-dress for an extended version of What's Love Got To Do With It followed by Private Dancer.
The sight of a near septuagenarian looking so sexy was staggering.
Then it was time for male dancers in primitive gear to dance around and warm up for the sight of Turner in a much less flattering look -- her full Mad Max: ThunderDome regalia including a high blond wig with headband and a grey chain-link floorlength dress for We Don't Need Another Hero, which was performed on a metal stage complete with pyrotechnics and the elevating pedestal that hoisted Turner up again.
After her intermission, Turner returned to the stage seated -- she is human after all -- with her band at the front of the stage to sing slowed-down and soulful covers of The Beatles, Help! and Al Green's Let's Stay Together, along with her own Undercover Agent for the Blues and I Can't Stand the Rain, before kicking up her heels again to cover abbreviated versions of the Stones, Jumpin, Jack Flash and It's Only Rock and Roll.
But it was the big production Bond theme, Goldeneye, which included an Agent 007 lookalike and Bond girls dancing away in gold lame, that really blew away the audience as Turner unleashed some mighty powerful notes.
After stripping down, yet again, to a sequined micro mini dress for Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love, and her own The Best and Proud Mary (written by John Fogerty), the latter of which included awesome dance moves, Turner wowed repeatedly, including during the encore with a performance of Nutbush City Limits that saw her swoop over the audience on a moving, elevated catwalk.
Due to overwhelming demand, Turner has added two more shows on Dec. 12-13 at the Air Canada Centre.
Catch her while you can. Surely this really is her last tour? Or else her lead-up to a Vegas run for which she appears more than ready.