When Tina Turner launched her 50th Anniversary Tour in 2008, she was 68 years old and hadn’t been out on a major tour in eight years. By the time she was onstage in Chicago, though, on the tour’s second date — a decade ago this week — she declared to the audience, “I’m back and I can do it,” and she proved it with 22 tracks, including some of her biggest hits: “Nutbush City Limits,” “Proud Mary” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
One of the evening’s standouts was her cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” a song that was a hit for her in 1983, and, more importantly, became her first single to chart since “Baby Get It On” with Ike Turner in 1975. She performed the song as part of her unplugged set, just after a half-hour intermission. In Chicago, where the audience included Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise, she sat between her two guitarists and emoted as if it was her first time singing the song. Fan-shot footage shows that the high notes were stunning and pitch perfect all leading to a dramatic closing.
“I just have energy,” she told Entertainment Tonight, when doing press for the tour. “I do nothing. I’ve never done drugs. A little wine or champagne on off days … I was born with this.”
Rolling Stone gave Turner a rave review when the tour made it to Los Angeles a few days later, calling it “proof positive that the former Anna Mae Bullock still deserves our R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” The tour stretched into 2009, but, other than a few one-offs earlier this decade, it remains Turner’s last big tour. In recent years, she’s poured her energy into developing a jukebox theatrical musical about her life, Tina, which is currently running in London, and a new memoir, Tina Turner: My Love Story, due out October 16th.