Last summer, the late great Aretha Franklin gave her final Philadelphia performance in Fairmount Park at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on August 26th. It was her next to last concert overall, followed only by a festival set in the Chicago metro area on September 3rd, and it found the Queen of Soul singing a mix of classic hits and deep cuts.
As local music critic Shaun Brady wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Regardless of advancing years and medical setbacks, Franklin seemed largely undiminished in voice or spirit, even if her exclamations sometimes soared past the limits of her breath. A comfy-looking red armchair sat prominently at center stage but went unused, despite the diva’s complaints about walking in heels as she hiked her shimmering white gown to cross the stage.
…The extended coda of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” was a showstopper, reminding the enthralled audience that even if she couldn’t quite ascend to the heights of her younger days, Franklin had a gift that was more about wringing profound emotion from a lyric than about vocal gymnastics.
Fan videos of the performance were posted online by YouTube user William Kates; re-live the night by watching them them below.
Think / Natural Woman / Freeway of Love (Instrumental intro)
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)
Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
Chain of Fools
Something He Can Feel
A Brand New Me
My Cup Runneth Over
Freeway of Love
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