Classy, driven Tina Turner shows her blues prowess in Vancouver

TINA TURNER - 1997 - ARCHIVES

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 17, 1993

Before heading over to the Coliseum for Tina Turner’s show last Thursday (June 10), I popped in to the grand opening of the new Mongolie Grill near Robson and Thurlow. The place was jam-packed with hungry schmoozers lining up for free food and booze, and I found myself squeezed in beside Coast 1040 on-air personality John Tanner.

When I asked him if he was going to see Turner too, he said no way, and that if he wanted dinosaurs he’d go see Jurassic Park. But as I found out later, Turner is far from being a prehistoric monster. If she’s a dinosaur, find me a time machine and set the controls for 100 million B.C.!

It’s downright amazing how great Turner looks for 53, but the best news is that she can still sing up a storm. From the opener, “Steamy Windows”, to the show-closing “Better Be Good to Me”, Turner showcased the gutsy style and raw emotionalism she built her name on. When she sings about her own much-publicized domestic trials (“I Don’t Want to Fight Anymore”) and the tribulations of women in general (Mark Knopfler’s “Private Dancer”), all the glitz and glamour of her superstar status can’t camouflage the fact that her art flies from the heart.

As usual, Turner was accompanied by a group of highly skilled, veteran musicians, the kind who play their parts to polished perfection. She also had two female dancers who, while they were obviously a lot younger than Turner, didn’t show her up a bit during serious work-outs to old Ike & Tina Turner staples like “Nutbush City Limits” and “Proud Mary”. Turner should certainly consider putting out a Shape Up with Tina video, and showing wimpy Richard Simmons how to really sweat to the oldies.

Even with heels on.

“How many of you know about the blues?” asked Turner, before displaying her own blues prowess in a slinky version of Tony Joe White’s “Undercover Agent for the Blues”. By the time of her first encore, “Show Some Respect”, Turner had earned a ton of that from the 8,500 fans in attendance.

And with the new movie about her life, What’s Love Got to Do With It, set for release this week, no doubt thousands more will find inspiration in one of rock’s classiest and most driven performers.

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