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Legendary Patti LaBelle graced a sold out DPAC

Legendary Patti LaBelle graced a sold out DPAC

Auntie is a word now used by the youth to designate respect and love to black women elders.  Its use didn’t originate within the black community with such reverence but this generation has not only taken back the term, they’ve given it weight rooted in esteem. Go on social media and Patti LaBelle is often called “Auntie”, or respectfully by her popular moniker “Ms Patti”, when referencing her legacy and music. Her career has evolved into best-selling cookbooks and more recently a brand of desserts for which she went viral when a singer online decided to hilariously sing their praises of her pie Patti-style. As a singer with “54 years in the game,” her music is intergenerational and remains current.


This past Friday, DPAC had Ms. Patti bless the stage to a sold out venue, complete with a full band, horn section, a grand piano, chaise lounge chair (a queen must rest) and the dopest back up singers. Sparkling in silver tasseled dress, she jumped right into her hits, and y’all she has sooooo many.

It’s easy to forget how long her resume is because, well it’s so durn long! It became a running joke during the show where she’d give love to an artist that sampled her work. Then she would smile demurely at the crowd and say “but I did it first.” Example: the second song she sung “If You Ask Me To.” It was originally recorded by her but exploded and catapulted Celine Dion’s career when she covered it a few years after its original release.


I was looking forward to hearing “If Only You Knew,” one of her stand out love songs that shows not only her vocal chops but it’s beautiful music in its entirety from the writing down to the melody. When I tell you Ms. LaBelle hit that high note at the end of the song…. I mean: Ms. LaBelle. HIT. THAT. HIGH. NOTE. (Insert punctuation handclaps wherever you like.) You might as well pretend you are listening to her albums because it’s literally what it sounds like.

About six songs into the show she took a small break to talk to the audience members. She asked for the house lights to see her fans and was rewarded with all sorts of hollering and ‘we love you’s. She was sweet and gracious,  giving thanks for everyone coming to see her.


The band segued into a mix of the Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” with Patti cracking jokes about her wig coming loose on stage and having “to fix it sometime.” Ms. Patti caught the band’s groove and broke out in a dance, having her background singers come up individually and destroy it themselves. It was a celebration and Ms. Patti watched them and cheered them on like she was attending THEIR show rather than giving them a moment to shine at hers.

Ms. Patti’s voice is a gift. Her voice goes from powerhouse to gentle as a goodnight kiss from note to note. A perfect example of this is when she performed “Somebody Loves You Baby,” another standout ballad of hers. The song moves from gentle pleading to out right demanding for her heart to be seen and the vocal range follows the same ups and down. The smooth ride becomes gritty and forceful and this woman just belts it out in the end, making you forget that you do NOT sound anything like her when you are singing along.


This was like going to church for your soul. I saw every age,  20s, 30s to 60s. Tons of fans were up dancing in their seats, and exclaiming their love for her. It was mesmerizing to watch the crowd react to her. A few were honestly just staring in awe like they expected her to melt back into the stage curtains and disappear. It’s not often you can see a legendary performer in their element. You have to see this show. HAVE to. Any music lover of any genre will appreciate to showmanship and talent, and lucky for you she’s got a few more dates still for you to check her out. Go take your soul to church and remember to pass the offering plate to the right.

Get tickets here!

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