Review of Tina Turner's concert, entitled "One last time"

On Thursday 28th of February I completed viewing a concert which was called “One Last time”, filmed at Wembley Stadium in July 2000. It presented the amazing talents of Tina Turner, showcasing her successful musical career that had led her on a fantastic journey, culminating with that very concert (hence the title).

Tina was supported by a band of nine people who not only brought out the original tone and groove of her songs, but also at times enhanced the audience’s experience of what was an absolutely fantastic performance.

There seemed to have been an emphasis on backing up Tina’s voice, as along with the two backing vocalists, (Stacey Campbell and Lisa Fischer) the two guitarists (John Miles and James Ralston) also sang along and added to the expanse of harmony.

The band were required to play a variety of styles to incorporate Tina’s ten or so performed songs, especially Rock and blues, and throughout the set these different styles were performed in a set order that saw both high points (for example “higher and higher”) and low points in audience excitement versus their pure and emotional enjoyment (for example during a slow-tempo ballad, “Help!”).

Tina opened the concert by singing a single note in her upper register, which was not only controlled beautifully but powerfully. This immediately established her presence on the stage and showed us what was to be expected of such an accomplished performer. In the first song, ‘Higher’, Tina administered perfect control over her Falsetto voice, and as the title of the song suggests pushed her voice to a high point in her range. Tina also showed good control of vibrato and most often on long sustained notes would use head movement to fake it, however her natural vibrato was often noted as an undertone to her fabulous voice in the first song.

Tina showed much confidence as she talked to her fans between songs and moved around the stage while singing; not only did her simultaneous movement and singing show she was an accomplished vocalist, but it demonstrated her competence at a performers level. There were however several instances where Tina’s diction became somewhat flawed, as she pushed her range or displayed emotion. Her projection on most songs, especially during her “early years” medley, was fantastic, however it displayed her flawed diction to a large and noticeable extent. The medley itself started with a simple 12-bar-blues number in which the band excelled, and as it progressed the band seem to combat tempo changes, key changes and solos quite well, most noticeably the sax player (Euge Groove) who played his instrument in a rough, corrosive way that complimented Tina’s musky voice greatly.

It was on the ballad “Help!” (a cover song) that Tina got the audience’s attention; song number six in the set, it slowed the tempo and level of noise (it at first only featured Joel Campbell on Piano and Warren McRae on Bass) enough for the audience to pay attention without a screaming partisan of Tina standing next to them. This is not to say that the audience was quiet on this song! On most songs they were pictured happily singing along or screaming; either way totally engulfed in the performance. Typical of a ballad, “Help!” reassured the audience of Tina’s skill as a musician, as the tone of the instruments saw her voice the main attraction.

This song led straight to the bluesy “Heard It Through the Grapevine”, which was performed from a slow blues that transcended in to fast tempo rock. This highlighted the technical capabilities of the band, as well as being a piece delivered fantastically in the vocal sense by both Tina and the backing vocalists. The song was also a visual highlight of the concert, as fire and smoke ripped the stage apart, the band playing in the centre of it all.

Tina did such a fantastic job in singing her part of the song in her own unique style that the transition between concert and recording was almost seamless. Perhaps the most well-known of all her songs was kept to the very end of the concert, and as the band ripped in to “Nutbush city limits” Tina hovered above stage on a massive platform, stretching about 30 metres over the audience. This of all things showed how adept Tina was as a vocalist, as she stood over a torrent of screaming fans, risked tumbling over her platform and on to them (or heaven forbid drop her microphone) and still managed to deliver a song that most people’s expectations were riding on.

Throughout the entire concert, not only did Tina show her professionalism as an individual talent, but also managed to prove to her fans (who were packed like sardines in to Wembley Stadium) what an exciting performer she was after all these years. With the aid of her band she delivered what most fans would have expected of her, and showed what a fantastic and broad range of songs have lined her career. If it was one thing that Tina Turner could deliver with, it was style; this style is not only highlighted in “One last time”, but accomplished.

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