Tornado. Treasure. There Was Nobody Like Tina Turner.
After her divorce became official in 1978, she hit the road and kicked more rocks. In 1982, the stone stopped in Onoway, Alberta. My friend James is from Edmonton, and Turner’s death on Wednesday stirred a childhood memory of his parents going to Onoway to see him play the Devil’s Lake Chorale. He sent the video. It is a mind-blowing feat of acrobatics, precision, adrenaline, heft, costuming. In other words, normal. Turner is soaked before halfway. But what makes this show stand out is how it begins.
Turner is flying on stage wearing a sandy top and tights in what will be a big deal. The town of Bedrock And a silky golden wig that looks like the back of a Shih Tzu. Her first song isn’t a re-imagining of her “Proud Mary” or a quick ditching of “Help” (Staying Around Her) in the trenches. Her first song is Rod Stewart’s wife-murdering nightmare “Foolish Attitude” and Tina rips her head off. Probably, the devil stayed by his lake that night.
More ingredients: chutzpah, irony.
That energy can work the crowd, make them say itYes“And “oh” and “oh” just for her, she yelled back at him. Tina had an average height – 5′ 4″. Probably. But here’s where a measure fails. Put him in the field, he scratched the sky.
I’ve seen footage of thousands of people taking it in together, mostly white people — in London, Osaka, Sweden and L.A. I’ve heard them on “Tina Live in Europe” since 1988. And I cry. They just lose their minds about her, this black woman growing up in the nut bush, in the hollows and back roads of Tennessee. That’s something — to watch her captivate people, to move them. Audiences flock in awe to see “Oprah,” as if she were a wonder of the world.
what’s that? It’s survival—of poverty, of Ike, of tuberculosis she didn’t know she had. This is a hard-won freedom. It’s the way the songs promised she’d survive: “It’s gonna work out fine.” But there is more: she loved herself, Loved being myself. We wanted to capture some of it ourselves. Page 133 of “I, Tina”: “I got to thinking that maybe I’m such a mix of things that it’s black or white, beyond just cultures – that I’m universal!”
Erina Tina, Universal Tina, is the Turner I’ve Got: “Private Dancer,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It” Tina. Seen for the first time of that Probably “Friday Night Videos” when I was 8. And here in a leather miniskirt, stockings, heels, denim jacket and hair, this tall looking woman was as imposing as a lion’s head. The little one wanted her to walk down the street in it. “What Is Love” video, one leg is almost completely crossing the other. He saw Bad, something about her evilness, strong – but also tender, the way she leaned into a dancer and beamed at one friend then beamed at another. When she won all those Grammys in 1985, I wanted to sound like a woman accepting them. Was it continental south? Caribbean showbiz?