Gladys Knight in Eindhoven

Iconic singer Gladys Knight really let the funk out last Saturday on “The Nitty Gritty”. She deeply insisted to “Make Yours A Happy Home”. And she turned bittersweet on the classic “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)”, which moved me to tears. There were more than those three examples where I asked myself how on earth is she still able to get this powerful voice across to 1.600 people in the audience. At the age of 80?! It seemed that she hadn’t lost any of her immense vocal abilities and her profound musicality. The way she grooved through “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, done in a slightly slower tempo than the original, was simply breathtaking. It was only through her vocal prowess that she gave this masterpiece a much thicker and warmer touch.

Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight on Saturday at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven

Gladys Knight is on her Farewell tour with only a few select dates in the Netherlands and the UK. She stopped by at Eindhoven’s Muziekgebouw for a roughly 70-minute set and simply wowed the audience who gave her several standing ovations during her outstanding performance. I just couldn’t believe how strong and persistent and persuading she sounded on “The Way We Were”, one of many highlights of her amazing set. A big part of the unprecedented success of the show had her band and the three background singers Tamara Walker, Alexis Hoover, and Vonciele Faggett who led us to church during a fervent and feverish Gospel section and who turned the roof off during “Save The Overtime (For Me)” where they elegantly and thrillingly interpolated Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much”. Fascinating!

Gladys Knight background singers
Alexis Hoover, Tamara Walker, Vonciele Faggett singing
background for Gladys Knight last Saturday at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven

We also got “License To Kill” and “Love Overboard”, two tracks from the 80s. “Every Beat Of My Heart”, which she first recorded with The Pips in 1961 (!), also made a rousing addition to the set which had opened with “Taste Of Bitter Love” from her 1980 LP “About Love”, written and produced by Ashford & Simpson. You could sense from the start that this would be a one-of-a-kind show. Which in the end it was. There were more tear-jerking moments: the way she phrased her way through “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” was just awe-inspiring. She went down and dirty on “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” and left a totally blessed crowd with “Midnight Train To Georgia”.
If you happen to be anywhere near the next tour stops of the Empress of Soul, there is no excuse (there are more dates in the US in August, September, and October):

6/24 Glasgow – Royal Concert Hall
6/25 Birmingham – Symphony Hall
6/27 London – Royal Albert Hall
6/28 London – Royal Albert Hall
6/29 Swansea – Swansea Arena
6/30 Bournemouth – International Centre
7/02 Nottingham – Royal Concert Hall Notts
7/03 Southend-On-Sea – Southend Cliffs Pavillion
7/04 Southend-On-Sea – Southend Cliffs Pavillion
7/06 Eastbourne – Congress Theatre
7/08 Bristol – Bristol Beacon
7/12 Henley-On-Thames – Henley Festival

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