The legend rocked the very foundations of the National Concert Hall, a venue fitting in elegance for a performer of this distinction and talent. She's been in the music business 62 years, and began her remarkable career alongside her father Roebuck "Pops" Staples and siblings Cleotha, Pervis and Yvonne as The Staple Singers. To this day, Yvonne provides beautiful, harmonizing backing vocals for her sister, who commanded and illuminated the stage with her resolute gospel spirit and undeniable soulful presence.
She hit the stage with a bang, singing Wrote a Song for Everyone. She continued with her newer offerings, each song yielding to standing ovations from various locations across the establishment.
The atmosphere was electric and the show pivoted with her sublimely unique version of Buffalo Springfields' For What It's Worth,a cult anthem famed over time for being a musical symbol of social injustice and discrimination and its resulting unrest.
This message was consistent throughout the entire performance, adding strength to this very important issue with such epic tunes as March Up Freedom's Highway, and also with Staples’s urgings to Keep your Eyes on the Prize. She sang with such conviction and spirit that not only her words, but those of her father's, could be heard filling the hall in the most exquisite, sincere manner.
She shared with her attentive audience personal stories of her grandmother and one of her father Pops' relationship with Dr Martin Luther King. Many times, Dr King asked "Stapes”, as he called him, to sing at his meetings Why Am I treated So Bad ,as it was his favoured Staple Singers' song.
It was humbling being permitted to look onto such a significant part of history from such a personal recollection, and it was very hard not to be moved by the whole event.
The crowd was in a primitive, tribal unison of movement throughout the entire performance. The show was concluded with Respect Yourself and then finally the iconic I'll Take You There.
It was surreal to have reviewed a movie a few weeks previous The Sapphires which featured this sublime song to witness, hear and enjoy it being performed in it it's most organic, original and majestic state.
There was a touch of enchantment to the evening, to listen to the songs that have had such an impact over the decades. It was a profound performance by this ambassador for humanity, equality and righteousness, whose words and magnificent voice still resonate today with both clout and charisma in equal measure.