Remembering Aretha Franklin

Remembering that night with Aretha Franklin

Way back in ’88, I was engaged to the wonderful woman who would eventually become my sweet wife. But, before we tied the knot, there was the occasional concert experience where our deep-seeded love was put to the test. This was not one of those moments…

We both worked at Trump Castle, well before The Donald was the mess we have come to know, and we had a nice, friendly connection in the box office. One of the perks of employment at Trump’s Dump at the Marina was access to cheap tickets if any became available on the day of the show.

I was then, and always have been a rocker. Aretha wasn’t exactly my cup of tea and I wasn’t sure it was worth missing a night at the Circle Tavern, but she was a legend who still possessed an amazing voice and a larger-than-life persona. So, we snagged a pair of tickets and took our chances.

We knew the maitre d’ well, and thanks to our connections, ended up with front row seats.

Aretha was excellent, even as she approached 60. She sounded great… the voice of an angel… “Freedom,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think” and “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.” Pure majesty. I was willing to forgive her for “Freeway of Love” and her other 80’s missteps, and to just soak in the classics. As it turned out, it was a nice show and definitely worthy of this rocker’s time. On stage she was a picture of grace, and oh that voice… pure perfection.

As the night wound down, Aretha kicked into “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You)” and she slithered across the stage in her much too tight, and too short dress… and locked her eyes in on mine – this young rocker sitting near the stage, a regular guy amidst a sea of high rollers. She snaked her way over, grabbed my hand and sang directly to me for most of the song. With that beautiful voice… I was not a huge fan, but I was touched, she was fantastic, and for those three minutes, she made me feel special. An early goose bump moment.

A fleeting event in her majestic career, but it made an impact on this young fan that I’ll never forget. Respect…

Rock On!

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