Chaka Khan still sparkling
By Don Valentine
The acclaimed queen of R&B displayed that she still has the effervescent talent to thrill an audience. At the grand age of 63, this diva performed her hits with more than competent grace. The nearly sold out crowd at the Adrienne Arsht Center this past Friday night got their money’s worth. A phenomenal tribute is that she has retained her vocal flair or all these years. It’s no secret to any fan that she enjoyed the “experimental libations” of the 70’s.
Kudos go out to the staff at the Arsht Center. I have been to every venue in South Florida and I have to emphasize that the experience of seeing any show there is worth the extra “Dime”. The organization from the valet service to the head architect would not skimp on anything to make your experience elegant. Acoustically the design is pristine for a musical show.
Most artist save their best two hits for the end of show. Chaka had hit after hit and easily filled up a 90 minute set. The eclectic, rainbow slanted crowd erupted over the crescendo anthem “I’m every woman”. Men and women were singing in unison with Chaka at this climactic moment.
In 2002, Khan scored her eighth Grammy for a cover of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On with the Funk Brothers. She penned her life story in 2003 with her autobiography “Chaka! Through The Fire” which detailed her years of substance abuse and lonely days touring without her children. Her demons continue to haunt her. She took a 14 minute exit from the stage for a choreographed break. The band played on doing instrumental improvisations, while they looked nervously to see if Chaka was ready to return. It was abundantly clear that she was not as coherent upon her return. Still, the crowd was effusive about the show. The atmosphere was frenetic all night long.