Saturday, June 27, 2009

The stars come out for Aretha Franklin at the Hollywood Bowl...

Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Billy Dee Williams were among the audience with us last night at the Hollywood Bowl to see the 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin in concert.
Aretha Franklin taking the stage at The Hollywood Bowl
Returning to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time in 35 years, the 67 year old big lady belted out her classic hits Respect, Freeway, Chain of Fools and more with her trademark big voice. 
Aretha Franklin at The Hollywood Bowl 26 June 2009
What a way for us to start our Hollywood Bowl season this year amongst all these A-List actors and celebrities and we were lucky enough to have box seats near the front of the outdoor amphitheater. 
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl concert
We had Oscar Winner Halle Berry (who received the 2002 Best Actress Academy Award for Monster's Ball with an emotional speech and is also known for portraying 'Storm' in the X-Men movies and sexy spy 'Jinx' in the 20th Bond movie 'Die Another Day') a couple of box rows behind us and renowned actress Angela Bassett (most recently of E.R.'s final season fame and movies 'How Stella got her groove back' and 'Waiting to exhale') in front and to our left.
Soul Queen Aretha Franklin at Hollywood Bowl
Speaking of stars, I even glimpsed a shooting star falling to the earth in the sky above the open air Bowl, making the evening even more special.
Aretha Franklin performs at Hollywood Bowl
How lucky were we to be surrounded by such glittering stars. Of course they'd all come to watch this 'soul legend' and accomplished singer, songwriter and pianist. 
Soul Diva Aretha Franklin at Hollywood Bowl
Aretha Franklin is one of the most successful artists of our time at the Grammy Awards, and has been awarded 20 Grammys to date, including the Living Legend Grammy and Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
 Soul idol Aretha Franklin at The Hollywood Bowl June 2009
She also has the honour of being the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Singing legend Aretha Franklin at The Hollywood Bowl
And as Michael Jackson's untimely death reminds us, you have to take these opportunities to see these 'musical legends' whilst you still can. 
Aretha Franklin sings at The Hollywood Bowl
Aretha and the audience honoured the 'King of Pop' with a silent tribute, which was especially eerie in the 17,000 capacity amphitheater, and praised his 'genius', saying that he always gave 150% as a performer.
Aretha Franklin on stage at The Hollywood Bowl
Like a real diva, Aretha Franklin took to the stage twenty minutes late, but gave a great performance, especially for someone getting on in her years.

Intermission Mardis Gras Carnival dancers 
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl Mardis Gras Carnival dancer
The shorter and livelier first half was certainly my favourite part of the evening and was followed by a slightly jarring Mardi Gras Carnival troupe dancing their way through the audience. 
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl intermission Carnival dancer
Although entertaining they seemed out of place with Aretha's soul music, but I suppose they were there to liven up the audience for the second act between costume changes.
 Aretha Franklin dazzles at The Hollywood Bowl
As always I was totally in awe of the Hollywood Bowl's light show and just love the design of the stage, it's so iconic.

The Hollywood Bowl's dazzling lightshow
Aretha Franklin concert at Hollywood Bowl
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl stage lighting
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl colourful stageshow
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl colourful lightshow
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl 26 June 2009
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl concert June 2009
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl performs 26 Jun 09
In the fashion stakes, the 'Soul Queen' followed a voluptuous apricot-cream fur-trimmed ensemble with a sparkling sequined black dress and white fur coat, to combat the cool L.A. evening air. 
Soul legend Aretha Franklin at The Hollywood Bowl
She also wore a much better hat for her closing numbers than the one she wore on Obama's Inauguration Day and sung infinitely better too.
Singer Aretha Franklin at The Hollywood Bowl
For the second half of the concert to slow things down and catch her breath she name-checked the famous celebrities in the audience starting with American Civil Rights activist and Baptist Minister Jesse Jackson, who she said was in town to comfort the family of Michael Jackson.
Aretha Franklin with gospel choir at Hollywood Bowl Jun 09
Next up in the spotlight (I think) was the actor 'Billy Dee' Williams (Lando Calrissian from Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back).
Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl Madris Gras finale
She also called Halle Berry up on stage who bowed in deference to the 'Queen of Soul'. 

Halle Berry on stage with Aretha Franklin 
at The Hollywood Bowl 26th June 2009
Halle Berry at Hollywood Bowl 26 Jun 09
Halle Berry bows to Aretha Franklin at Hollywood Bowl Jun 09
After Halle left the stage, Franklin then asked the crowd who they'd rather see play her in a movie biopic of her life, Halle Berry or Jennifer Hudson
Halle Berry on stage with Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl Jun 09
Unfortunately for Halle the loudest cheer was for Hudson.
Halle Berry and Aretha Franklin Hollywood Bowl June 09
And after that she made Angela Bassett get up off her box seat and wave her arms for all to see.

Angela Bassett waves to Aretha Franklin 
on stage at The Hollywood Bowl
I know it's not the best photograph (Angela was wearing an orange dress and black top to keep the chill air at bay), but it all added to the excitement of the fabulous evening.
Aretha Franklin concert at Hollywood Bowl 26 June 09
Can you believe I even experienced all this sober (as I'm on a detox at the moment which doesn't allow alcohol, which is no fun at all), but like I said it was a great way to kick off our Hollywood Bowl season this year.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me...

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