Tina Turner kicked off her first North American tour in six years Sunday in Reno. And while December-like weather cooled off the outside, Turner heated things up inside, rocking non-stop to the delight of fans who braved the elements to pay homage to one of pop music’s most enduring and endearing artists.
Turner, who arguably has the best legs and lungs in the business, wowed the diverse crowd via her perfectly paced presentation, which alternated between rock spectacle and Las Vegas revue. Turner and company delivered torrid readings of tracks from her three-album solo career repertoire and from her debut Virgin Records disc, “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which will be released June 15.
Although the disc is being billed as her first solo outing on the new label (Turner’s first three discs were on Capitol), it is more of a promotional vehicle tied to the June 25 release of the singer’s motion picture biography of the same title. The album sports only three new songs, among them the first single, “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” which is currently the most added song on CHR stations nationwide.
Save for a few digressions — a version of the ’70s-era mantra “Disco Inferno” that plays a big role in the film and an audience singalong of the album’s title track — Turner took the high road throughout. Her kinetic capering and vocal prowess went hand in hand, neither of which tapered off during the almost two-hour, high-octane presentation.
Top-notch contributions from her backing band — the most notable was Tim Cappello, the muscular multipurpose sideman from Turner’s past tours who single-handedly gets the crowd to erupt just by raising his sax — enhanced the near-flawless performance.
The coup de grace came when Turner, in the midst of belting out a showstopping version of “Better Be Good to Me,” stepped onto a center-stage platform that became a hydraulically lifted promontory, jutting her high out over the audience.
Opener Lindsey Buckingham, the Fleetwood Mac alumnus who took a solo excursion early last year, fared well during his 45-minute set but was ultimately overshadowed by Turner’s performance.
Buckingham’s five-guitar attack was aided by a 10-member crew, dividing the set between tracks from his Warner Bros. disc, “Go Insane,” and well-knowns from his Mac days.