The wife and I scored tickets to see Tina Turner last week at the new Boston Garden. The drive against commuter traffic was pleasant, peaceful and private.
We parked below the new Boston Garden (TD North), at the vortex of Route 93 and Storrow Drive, down four levels. Emerging from the elevator, we faced a rush of humanity in all its glory — lots of exuberant, excited, enthused fans scoring tickets, waiting for the rest room, gathering, grouping and going up to the concert hall.
Like Allen Whiting’s sheep we were herded onto escalators, in long, jovial lines. The fellow behind me observed, “No spring chickens here,” and it was truly a crowd of baby boomers endowed with graying hair and weathered brows.
Clutching our computer-generated tickets, we inched toward the hall. “You’ll love the show!” confided our beaming ticket-taker. “She’s at the top of her form.”
Because we were early, we lingered by the T-shirt vendor and soon sprang for a smart black top, emblazoned with Tina’s name in shiny silver letters. Then we made our way to our seats in the umpteenth row.
We weren’t there but two minutes, when we heard a nearby “psst,” and experienced what so many Vineyarders find. “Hey Tom, what brings you here?” It was Marnie Stanton from Vineyard Haven, at the same concert, in the same section. Small world syndrome. Vineyard syndrome.
Now to the concert.
To prime the audience, the sound system blared the Stones Start Me Up and Springsteen’s Born to Run, then the curtains of the giant stage were drawn back to reveal Tina in black, shimmery tight capris, an off-the-shoulder top and five-inch heels, posing atop a 20-foot pedestal.
And the show began.
She danced. She sang. Her voice filled the full-house. It was loud. People screamed, danced, cheered. Tina was amazing. Her voice was alive. Her dance steps were in time with the back-up dancers who were a third her age.
There were blasts of fireworks, scorching searchlights and a 75-foot stage arm that elevated Tina like a figurehead on a ship’s bowsprit above her adoring fans. Definitely a Vegas act.
She sang for an hour, took a break, then sang and danced a second set.
Her back-up band was right on key. Her dancers were delightful. She sang Help! by the Beatles and Jumping Jack Flash by the Stones, but her repertoire celebrated her hits, movie songs and Grammy winners like Proud Mary, What’s Love Got to Do With It, Better Be Good to Me and We Don’t Need Another Hero. She reprised her career, complete with a video montage of highlights.
Tina Turner showed she could shake a leg and carry a tune through some two and a half hours after she first strutted on stage.
It was a show to remember.
We left exhausted and exhilarated by the Queen of Rock’s drama and determination. And to think she turned 69 this week! Would that we all could be in the shape she’s in.
Tom Dresser lives in Oak Bluffs and contributes regularly to the Gazette.