Tina Turner, on the other hand, will be dead 10 years before she lacks impetus. Slipping her 61-year-old body into multiple spaghetti-strapped and/or leather outfits and her voice into nearly 20 songs, the singer came on with Olympic force. Pacing her soul-UFO stage set with feline aggression, Turner ripped into the expected highlights -- "River Deep, Mountain High," "Proud Mary," "Private Dancer" -- almost as though she had something to prove. By the home stretch, Turner even achieved the impossible by making the Robert Palmer sex-stomp "Addicted to Love" seem hyperkinetic.
Turner de-emphasized her recent catalog, offering only a few selections from her latest disc and nothing from its predecessor. Covers of "Help," "Try a Little Tenderness," and "Lets Stay Together" were clean and proper, in addition to being better songs than Turners hired guns have been turning out for her. The nights best surprise was a randy version of the Whos "Acid Queen," which she performed against a projection of her 1975take on it for the movie Tommy.
The band worked anonymously, replicating the album cuts accurately and with high-dollar flash. The music wasnt the point, though; Turner is the last working diva with personality enough to match her gutbucket voice, and on what she says is her last full-scale tour, the night was more Essentially Tina than essential Tina. The songs were conduits for the typhoon gale of Turners presence, something the mostly middle-aged audience picked up and responded to heartily.
Its too bad Richie didnt join Turner onstage, but then he wouldve required a gurney to leave it, given the fury of Turners performance. If she ever settles into the less-strenuous rhythm of instantly-recognizable singer, rather than that of manic celebrity, Turner will have transcended the star turns of this period in her long career. Until then, the ride is more fun than the music.