Patti LaBelle brings soul and Diva vocals to Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center 

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Patti Labelle photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center
Patti Labelle photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center

Whether you know her as a member LaBelle, a solo vocalist, an actress, a pie maven, or simply as Philadelphia’s own “Miss Patti,” seeing the force of nature that is Patti LaBelle in concert is beyond. There was a packed house at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music on Thursday April 5, 2018. People of all different ages, backgrounds, and race, showed me that regardless of how separate we may seem at times, music from icons like Patti LaBelle can truly bring us all together.

The music was completely luminous, and as close to vocal perfection as you can get. Not only did LaBelle sing classics like her dance stomping “When You Talk About Love” and “If You Ask Me To.” Ms. LaBelle spoke directly to the audience, letting us know of her love and loyalty to the LGBT community. Plus she mentioned her feelings on Philadelphia itself. She said there is simply no audience like the one in the City of Brotherly Love.

Patti Labelle photo courtesy of Philadelphia Style
Patti Labelle photo courtesy of Philadelphia Style

Seeing Patti LaBelle is much more than simply a concert. It’s a complete and total experience. At 72-years young, LaBelle took to the crowd, giving them an up close and personal experience. The icon allowed five fans to take the stage with her to sing the quintessential lyrics in one of her signature hits, “Lady Marmalade.”

Each man’s voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir was met with varying degrees of success. But each and every fan got to live vicariously through these men as they sang live with an icon.

Patti Labelle completed the night with a stunning version of “You Are My Friend”

Yes, Ms. LaBelle kicked off her shoes during the crescendo of  “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (to roaring applause). She completed the night with a stunning version of “You Are My Friend.” She had two very special accompaniments. Not only did her band, background singers, and musical director John Stanley join her (all of which were absolutely luminous during the entire show, recognized by LaBelle a number of times) but also by a simple, yet powerful gesture. During this well known and emotional song, LaBelle performed in front of a constantly changing background screen. The scree was of well known and sadly departed personalities. Hearing and seeing LaBelle sing these poignant lyrics with flashes of Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, and LaBelle’s own family was stirring.

Before departing the stage, Ms. LaBelle had one more gift for her truest fans. On her latest album Here’s To Life LaBelle spins a vocally lush package of jazz standards in the bluesiest and smoothest way possible. It includes her version of “Here’s To Life,” a showpiece on the album Bel Hommage.  Hearing LaBelle, complete with outfit change, wrap her gorgeous and unique vocals around this classic was a moment not to be soon forgotten. “Here’s To Life” indeed Ms. LaBelle!

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