Seven-time Grammy Award Winning Empress of Soul Gladys Knight brought the house down in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana this past Sunday.
For those who’ve never seen the legendary singer in concert, you are missing an extraordinary experience. At 79, Ms. Knight still hits every alto note beautifully, especially when singing fan favorites.
The Hard Rock in Gary, unlike many other venues in America, cherishes the rich history of great Black American music. Whether walking the casino floor or entering the actual concert hall, you can’t help but be taken by the beauty of the Black music displays.
Many consider Gary the birthplace of the most significant Black music family in history, the Jackson Family. It’s no secret that Gary does, too. On the casino floor are displays featuring the authentic concert outfits worn by the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson and more.
As you enter the concert hall, the vestibule serves as a Jackson family museum, where each wall contains a painted mural dedicated to each member. Even Tito and Latoya have a wall detailing their contributions to the music industry and Gary. The most fantastic tribute is saved for the parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson.
You can feel the excellence this hall excludes, and I’m sure Ms. Knight felt the legendary energy and was well equipped to provide the multigenerational crowd with an iconic experience.
Yet, before the legend hit the stage, the crowd was greeted by comedian and Chicago native Damon Williams, who reassured participants it was okay to laugh as he ended each joke with, “laugh today, be serious tomorrow.”
Williams also celebrated the current success of his comedy special on Netflix called “All The Queens Men,” presented by comedy queen Sommore, which showcases him alongside other veteran comedians. Williams set the tone and relaxed the audience through laughter to ensure the vibe was right for Ms. Knight.
First things first, Ms. Knight’s catalog — with The Pips and on her own — is weighty.
With timeless hits and a flawless voice, the crowd sat in wonder as she sang “Love Overboard,” “Memories,” “Neither One of Us,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me,” “I’ve Gotta Use My Imagination” and “If I Were Your Woman.”
As the Empress of Soul breezed through her set, she often stopped to thank God for his amazing blessings throughout her life. She even belted out a medley of gospel hits that led the crowd in worship, singing Donnie McClurkin’s hit, “Stand,” and Tamela Mann’s ever-popular “Take Me To The King.”
Before Ms. Knight ended her show to a standing ovation, she took us aboard another journey by closing the night with her iconic hit with The Pips, “Midnight Train To Georgia,” leading many audience members on a “choo, choo” to the car.
If you can check out this seasoned music veteran in concert, take that chance. After seven decades in the business, Ms. Knight is still bringing down the house.