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Hello Friday: Tina Em-Effin Turner

It’s hard to know me and not hear the story of how my father used to cheer me up about being so insanely unpopular as a kid with the story of how Tina Turner was also unpopular when she transferred in from Tennessee to his high school. In fact, I’ve already told the story once on this blog during a “Guess the Random Lyric” for “Goldeneye.” Also, there’s a huge bit in the three chapters of my novel that I’ve posted in the “lit n nerdy” section, about how the main character loves, loves, loves Tina Turner.

Now I don’t believe in celebrity worship on a philosophical level, that all goes out the window where Tina Turner is concerned.

So seeing her live in concert on her 50th anniversary tour last night was definitely a life highlight.

Yesterday, CH finally got back into town, after a long (for me) gig in San Francisco, and at 3:30 pm yesterday I recieved the news that my beta numbers had not only doubled, but almost tripled — which means that I continue to be “very pregnant” (for those beta geeks reading this, I’m at 1200). So Tina at the Staples Center seemed like the perfect celebration.

I’ll put this out there right up front, Tina Turner’s voice isn’t what it used to be — think Frank Sinatra in the later years. But it occured to me that she never had the greatest voice in the industry anyway. It was more the energy she brings to song. And on that front, she’s definitely still got it.

Also, she somehow seemed to have consulted my fondest memories while picking out her set list, because it was exactly what I wanted to hear and see her do. And by exactly, I mean that she:

1. Sang “Rag Doll” — a huge hit in Europe, but only a minor blip on the music radar over here.

2. Wore an itty-bitty sparkly red mini dress for “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and rocked it. BTW, Tina Turner is 68.

3. Ended Act 1 with “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” The audience was already going crazy when we heard the opening music, but then why did Ms. Turner come out in her full Mad Max costume? We just about died. We didn’t know what to do.

4. She didn’t just sing the under-appreciated “Goldeneye,” she changed into a slinky black dress and came out onto the stage in one of those James Bond gun radar circle thingies. The entire number was so well-lit and theatrical that CH, who doesn’t wow easily when it comes to these things was like “wow.” I love that she did not one but two songs that weren’t in her biggest hits, but were still quality.

5. Did the full “Proud Mary” dance routine. When I was a sophomore in college and a Bridge Leader for Smith’s minority first year orientation program, my fellow Bridge Leaders and I did a Proud Mary Skit with Kim M lip-synching Tina Turner (she does an insanely good Tina Turner impression), Sebrina S playing Ike Turner (she was tall and had a huge afro) and Monique KV and me playing two of Tina Turner back-up dancers. We learned and performed the Proud Mary dance in one day, and were sore for like 2 days after. Tina Turner is closing the show with Proud Mary every night, and she is 68! 68!

6. THEN she came out and did a “Nutbush City Limits” encores with MORE dancing! Did I mention that she’s 68?

So this week in history 12 years ago my mother died. It was the worst week of my life, and I can still remember thinking about doing that Tina Turner routine with my fellow Smithies a month beforehand and wondering if I would ever be able to be that happy again.

And this week I found out I was pregnant, still pregnant, and saw my childhood hero, Tina Turner, in concert for the first time ever. So I guess the answer to the question that 19yo me asked is, “Yes, you will be able to be that happy again, but never, ever that carefree.”

And you know what? That only makes me appreciate being the happiest I’ve ever been this week even more.