Al Green & Gladys Knight | 07.13.08

 

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When legends of music like these two come to the Fabulous Fox, you had better be in the audience.

 

 

  

 

 

The Fabulous Fox Theater, St. Louis

 

The crowd stood in ovation as Gladys Knight was escorted out onto the Fox stage in an elegant black dress. The dress seemed to express the class and style that this legend would display through her entire set. Letting the audience know from the beginning that “we are going to go back and get some things,” Gladys began checking off her hits from the six decades.

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Photo: Todd Owyoung

Each new song was greeted by loud and cheerful applause, as if each were the particular song the whole audience had come to hear. Some of the songs she performed included “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “Neither One of Us,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong.”

The band performed to perfection, and Knight seemed to be flawless. If you loved her, you were not let down by the performance. Even if you were not as familiar with her music, you were likely to still be very entertained by her show. There was even a relief of comedy from her brother and original Pip, Merald "Bubba" Knight, that left everyone holding their sides from laughing too hard. Much of the excitement came from the energy and spirit that she still has for music and performing after all these years. Knight really brought it, and her fans were there to eagerly take. The performance of “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” was so moving that it led to another full-house standing ovation and tears from Knight and many of the audience members. There was a definite love affair there that night that no one was embarrassed to show.

As her set drew to an end, Knight was honored with another standing ovation from the audience for “Neither One of Us.” Then, to top it off, she closed with the classic “Midnight Train to Georgia” that made the audience wild with glee. After yet another standing ovation, Knight was escorted off with the same grace and beauty she had when taking the stage.

After an intermission to break down the set and switch out band equipment, Al Green came on…sort of.

When Green entered the stage, the audience was no less enthused than when Knight had come out. The band was rockin’ in a very smooth rhythm that instantly got the crowd moving in their seats. Green looked sharp in a classy dark tuxedo with a baby blue vest and mirror sunglasses. He strutted around the stage and pointed out into the audience, occasionally grunting into the microphone. Sometimes, to break up this routine, he would pick up some roses that were a set out for him and toss them into the crowd. He seemed to do just about everything but sing.

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Photo: Todd Owyoung

Though the audience began to get somewhat vocal about his lack of actual singing, Green never seemed to acknowledge what was going on and just kept doing his thing. Eventually, he performed a medley of classic Motown and soul classics from the ’60s. As he came out of this medley he seemed to be sufficiently warmed up and ready to give the audience what they came to see. He launched into crowd favorites such as “Here I Am (Come and Take Me),” “Love and Happiness” and “Let’s Get Married.” Though the Fox’s bar had been closed for an hour, the audience still seemed to be feeling the effects as well as the full groove of Green’s band and songs. Though he had gotten off to an odd and very slow start, he was now in classic Al Green mode. The audience was eating it up: every note, every hip thrust and every sweat flick. By the time Green began “Let’s Stay Together,” the audience was in a full orgy, dancing and singing.

Seeing Gladys Knight and Al Green that night was a true testament to the fact that when legends of music like these two come to the Fabulous Fox, you had better be in the audience; either that, or miss out on the chance to see some of the greatest music ever written performed by some of the greatest performers ever to perform it. | Ryan Parker

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