Whatever the Queen of Soul wants, the Queen gets.
Aretha Franklin is a diva in the after-life. She made a costume change between days of public viewing. And has two more scheduled before she’s buried.
Anyone wondering about what’s in store for Aretha Franklin’s funeral today got a sense of the pageantry set to unfold, last night. That's because a five-hour tribute concert was held in Detroit's Chene [[SHANE]] Park. Why so long? For starters, a list of 40 performers – but also, no one was interested in minimizing the legend that has been Ms. Franklin. Among the highlights:
- The show started with a touch of opera – renditions of "Ave Maria" by Nicole Johnson and "Nessun Dorma" (which you’ll recall that Franklin performed at the 40th GRAMMY Awards) by Roderick Dixon.
- Dee Dee Bridgewater performed an incredible version of "Sky Lark."
- Jean Carne spiced things up by bringing La Belle's Sarah Dashonstage to help her with "Til You Come Back To Me."
- It should surprise no one that gospel music took center stage. Kurt Carr and Derrick Starks were joined by a 25-voice choir for classics including "In the Sanctuary," "The Presence of the Lord is Here" and "How I Got Over.” Tasha Page-Lockhart, offered up "Amazing Grace."
- Tyler Perry introduced Jennifer Lewis, who performed "All Hail the Queen” – something Lewis wrote specifically for the occasion.
- Other performances included Angie Stone's rendition of "Brother," Regina Belle’s "Rock Steady" and Johnny Gill’s version of Franklin's "Ain't No Way." Keith Washington offered up "You're My Greatest Inspiration" and the Four Tops' Lawrence Payton, Jr. covered Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father."
- Speaking of the Four Tops, they also performed "Bernadette," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" and "Reach Out, I'll Be There.”
- While they may have had a rumored beef in life, it was clearly something in the past – as Patti LaBelle offered up her hit song, "You Are My Friend." And quite fittingly, she noted: "Aretha Franklin, y'all. We’re gonna miss her. She was the best singer in the world — trust!”
It’s worth mentioning that the herculean effort of putting on last night’s tribute or today’s grand affair is made more incredible with the fact that the famous - and not-so-famous folks taking part are all footing their own bills for travel and lodging. As we told you before, Franklin’s funeral begins this morning at 9am local time. CLICK HERE for details.
Source: NBC News