The second Meijer Gardens show of the 2018 season delivered heartfelt classics from a legendary singer, with help from opener Rachel Curtis. Review, photo gallery.
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The intimacy of the 74-year-old singer’s stories about love and defeat were balanced by the extravagance that comes from her legacy as the “Empress of Soul.”
After Knight’s grand entrance with a rendition of “Baby Don’t Change You’re Mind,” she made her mission clear: “I’m gonna try to warm y’all up a bit with some romance.”
And that she did, unfurling memorable hits such as “You’re the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me” and “Love Overboard” to help take the edge off of the evening’s unexpectedly chilly temperatures and overcast skies.
“You never know what you’re going to accomplish,” she later exclaimed to the crowd, while describing the excitement of hearing her song, “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” in a film she’s always found to be quite motivational: “Forrest Gump.”
Many fans arrived early for the 7 p.m. show, which opened with a set by 2018 American Idol” contestant Rachel Curtis, of Lansing, who performed a mix of original songs from her new EP as well as covers.The concert, not surprisingly, also drew longtime devotees of the iconic headliner. Concertgoer Dave Steil of Grandville said he first started listening to Knight’s music back in 1968 at the advice of friends.
“We listened to The Temptations and Four Tops, but I got really into Gladys Knight & The Pips, so here I am at the concert today very excited to hear her sing live,” he said.
For her part, Knight showed off her 60-plus years of experience performing on stage by deftly connecting with the crowd before every song.
Early on, she asked the audience to ponder the simple question, “How do you show love?” By the end of the evening, she made it clear that the most timeless way to do that comes via heartfelt music.
UP NEXT AT MEIJER GARDENS: The Decemberists on Monday (June 4, sold out), Jackson Browne on Wednesday (June 6, sold out), The B-52s on Friday (June 8, sold out)
PHOTO GALLERY: Gladys Knight, Rachel Curtis at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Veronica Leigh Anderson
SET LIST: Gladys Knight at Meijer Gardens
1. Baby Don’t Change Your Mind
2. You’re Number One (In My Book)
3. You’re the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me
4. Stay With Me
5. Heard it Through the Grapevine
6. I Hope You Dance
7. I’ve Got to Use My Imagination
8. When I was Your Man/If I was Your Woman
9. I Can’t Make You Love Me
10. Help Me Make it Through the Night
11. Midnight Train to Georgia
12. The Way We Were
13. First to Say Goodbye
14. Solos by band members
15. Love Overboard
Copyright 2018, Spins on Music LLC