Although not released on DVD by MCA until 2000,
the concert “Patti LaBelle: Live in New York” was
taped during 1991. This performance was in support
of her Grammy award-winning album, “Burnin’.”
It was filmed at the legendary Apollo Theater in
Harlem. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a
performer give so much of themselves.
As my interest in Rhythm & Blues music is relatively
new, I’m attempting to make up for my prior lack
of awareness. I’m glad that I watched this concert.
Ms. LaBelle possesses an amazing vocal instrument.
Her frequent register changes from a “full” sound to
her trademark “nasal” sound, may seem idiosyncratic
to the uninitiated. At any rate, it works for her and
my attempt to describe it verbally probably falls short.
This concert featured her performances of such
classics as “Lady Marmalade,” “All the Man That I Need”
and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” as well as
“Send in the Clowns,” and her signature rendition of
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I should add that
her one male and two female backup vocalists were
an excellent presence, and they were given solo
spots. At one point during the concert, she was
joined onstage by her two former LaBelle colleagues,
Nona Hendrix and Sarah Dash. She also performed
the duet, “Feels Like Another One,” with Big Daddy Kane.
Ms. LaBelle informed her audience that this was her
first concert shot on video, which I found interesting
when you consider how long she’s been performing!
After all, she was with the Bluebells in the 1960’s and
with LaBelle during the 1970’s, launching her solo
career in 1977. Her band was in fine form, with
special attention and a solo spot provided to
saxophonist Pamela Williams.
This concert was an outpouring of Soul and
once again, I’m glad that I checked out this DVD.
Fans of Patti LaBelle won’t want to miss this.