Ihre Browserversion ist veraltet. Wir empfehlen, Ihren Browser auf die neueste Version zu aktualisieren.

A retrospective I: Why Tina Turner is still the most exciting woman in the world

Veröffentlicht am 09.03.2009
by E. M. Hohenborg-Varel/ Translation: Matthew Finnemore

Published on March 9th, 2009 in the culture magazine CarpeBerlin.

"I called my manager and said it's time!"

The media hype prior to the concert was huge, seeing that the American singer had declared the end of her stage career 8 years ago. When she stated her comeback with the words: "I called my manager and said it's time!" on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, the studio audience broke out into fanatic cheering. Several radio and television channels interrupted their programme to give the millions of fans the long awaited message. The first concert in her world tour, in Kansas City was sold out after a mere 2 minutes.

When Tina Turner aptly landed in her private jet on the banks of the Spree, she had already done 40 concerts in the USA and Canada. You would think she would be out of breath, but not in the slightest. Her voice sounds even better than before, thanks to her long break. When asked about her being 69 years old, she replies that age is nothing more than a number.

The performance of a Super Diva

Shot from the concert. Foto: Erik Müller, 2009.Shot from the concert. Foto: Erik Müller, 2009.Then the moment arrives! The curtain goes up and the super diva floats in among gleaming spotlights on a 20 metre high plattform to the gitarre riffs of "Steamy Windows" - what an entrance! In a glistening sequin dress, which she keeps in black and gold, she belts out one world hit after another. Her show, designed by herself, could not be more exciting: flame throwers, sword fighters, hydraulic stages rounded off by four gorgeous dancers, musicians and background singers of world acclaim.

Between numbers, Tina explains to the audience that the show is supposed to be a review of her career. As the first bars of "River Deep, Mountain High" sound, the heady stew of 60's soul reaches boiling point and catapults you into 1966 when the song created a frenzie in the nightclubs of London.

In "Acid Queen" from the rock opera "Tommy" she strides down the steps in a sensational fire-coloured costume. The song is seen as one of the best songs in rock history and was written for Tina by the Who's leadsinger Pete Townshend in 1975. After that she leads a song contest between men and women in the audience. When the men do worse than the women she whispers that she wants to hear a "Yes, we can", making the audience cheer. Was that sympathy for Barack Obama? In any case, Tina knows what the German fans want to hear.

For her most famous song "We don't need another hero" from the film Mad-Max Beyond Thunderdome, she wears the original outfit including the blonde wig. She played the female lead in the 1985 drama. Lead by martial looking gladiators, Tina steps onto the hydraulic stage for a second time and ascends to lofty heights, before the curtain falls. It's the highlight of a show, begging to be topped.

After a 30 minute intermission she starts with the slow Tina Turner version of the Beatles hit "Help", sitting on a bar stool. Her voice's versatility really shows in the numbers "I can't stand the rain" and "Undercover agent for the blues." It's now become obvious why she is known as one of the world's best R&B artists. In the mock club atmosphere she drives her audience wild even when she's sitting down.

It was the best Tina Turner show of all time

Soon she could no longer keep it in, jumped up and started rocking like never before. "Goldeneye", "The best" and, of course, "Proud Mary", follow, which she performed during the times of the legendary Ike and Tina Turner revue. After a short break she sings "Nutbush city limits" as an energetic encore, one of the few numbers written by Tina herself in which she flies over the heads of the audience on a crane making the audience sing with her again and again "Nutbush!". Despite some of her fans taking the song to mean "Not Bush!", referring to Obama's victory in the elections, the song is 35 years old and dedicated to her home town of Tennessee. Fans and critics are of the same opinion: this was the best Tina show of all time. Yet how could her success, which only really started after separating from her despotic husband Ike, be explained?

Tina Turner doesn't need to create a scandal to be a sensation. She is sensational! Her posture alone speaks volumes. The oscar prize winning director Ismail Merchant ("Room with a view") called her "the most exciting woman in the world". In his Bollywood spectacle "The Goddess" (2005), she played the lead as an Indian goddess (what else?). The scenes with Tina are in the bag, but as Merchant died last year the project has been put on ice.

This had no effect on her popularity though. Going by ticket sales she is the biggest singer there ever was; even bigger than Madonna or Cher, who sold more records. However, Tina can also be proud of her 180 million albums sold. Her "All the Best" double album, released in 2004, reached even number two in the US Billboard Charts. And in Rio de Janeiro she still holds the record from 1988 when an unbelievable 186,000 people followed her into the Maracana stadium.

Tina Turner is not only a musical phenomenon: her tremendous appearance is thanks to her sparkling eyes, full lips, pert bosoms, taut legs and tight bum. Sure, she now has a few more wrinkels around the eyes, but that only makes her look more natural. She hasn't been lifted to death, like some of her younger colleagues. Now she is reaping the benefits of staying away from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes all of which form the every day of normal show business.

Five farewell concerts in the O2 Arena in London

Apart from her private chef, who cooks her the best food, Tina has an Indian personal physician, Dr. Rajendra Sharma, who uses his vast knowledge of natural medicine to look after her. Nevertheless it's amazing how much power this woman has; her energy knows no bounds. She will finish her tour with five completely sold-out farewell concerts in the 02 Arena in London. The building on the banks of the Thames is as controversial as its partner building on the banks of the Spree, but that's another article. Her last performance is on 3rdMay 2009. Since the demand has been uninterrupted, there are talks of doing extra performances. And whoever has experienced Tina Turner but once knows that Ismail Merchant was right!

© Hohenborg-Varel 2009

This article wrote Hohenborg-Varel at 19th of march 2009 for the German magazine "CarpeBerlin"