Listening to Ike and Tina Turner in their prime is a good way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon. But of all my records, why that one today?
50 years ago tonight, on Saturday, June 26, 1971, Ike and Tina performed a show at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin.
The show drew a crowd of about 3,500 to the Coliseum, about half full.
Some takeaways from the reviews that appeared in the two Madison papers the following Monday:
— The heavy British rock of the opening act, The Grease Band, “really didn’t belong on the bill” and was nothing to write home about.
— The Kings of Rhythm, Ike and Tina’s backing band, was introduced first. Then the Ikettes, who performed a couple of numbers. Then Ike. And then … “the hardest-working young girl in show business today! … Tina!
— One reviewer notes Tina’s introduction and immediately turns to Tina’s appearance …
Tina Turner is 31. Come on, man.
— The Ike and Tina Turner Revue summons “vicarious white fantasies of Harlem’s Apollo Theater in the early ’60s.”
— One reviewer mentions “Rollin’ on the River” as one of the songs performed and declares it “better than the original.”
Oh, you mean “Proud Mary.” Come on, man.
— Tina ends the Madison show by “dancing off stage in rapid-fire strobelights and a burst of artificial fog.” But that was it. No encore. Which led to this complaint: “There were unfortunately not enough minutes of this hard work. Tina was on stage only about 45 minutes.”
I wouldn’t complain about seeing Ike and Tina Turner for 45 minutes. But had one popped for the best seats, that’s about $36.50 in today’s dollars. Whether 45 minutes of Ike and Tina in their prime is getting your money’s worth, well, that’s a judgment call for the ages.
The emcee tells the Madison crowd that the show will be roughly the same as that heard on “What You Hear Is What You Get,” a live record from Carnegie Hall that’s just about to be released. That’s the record I listened to on this rainy summer afternoon.
“What You Hear Is What You Get,” Ike and Tina Turner, 1971.
What you hear on the record as Tina dances off stage after a furious cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” is the emcee — the hype man — shouting “Miss Tina Turner and the Ikettes, ladies and gentlemen! Tina Turner and the Ikettes! Miss Tina Turner! Tina Turner! Tina Turner! Tina Turner! Tina Turner! Tina Turner!”
You know a lot of the songs on this record. I don’t know whether they performed this less-often-heard song in Madison, but on the record, Tina, the Ikettes and Ike do a slow burner of a cover of “A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Everyday),” which Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for Martha and the Vandellas.