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Monday, Oct 2, 2023 | Latest Print Edition

Patti LaBelle delivers emotional sold-out show

<p>Patti LaBelle performs in front of hundreds of fans in the Gogue Performing Arts Center on Nov. 14.</p>

Patti LaBelle performs in front of hundreds of fans in the Gogue Performing Arts Center on Nov. 14.

Patti LaBelle is no stranger to selling-out shows, and she delivered her first show in Auburn Sunday evening to a sold-out crowd. The "Godmother of Soul" filled up the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center.  

The 77-year-old singer performed hit songs such as "On My Own," "If Only You Knew" and "New Attitude." She also performed Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whiskey" and The Rance Allen Group's "Something About The Name Jesus."   

On stage were the singer's black grand piano with several designer high heels sitting on top of it, her live band and an olive-green throne. The singer went through a series of outfit changes, leading into a new song after each switch.

The event, which sold out a month in advance, had nearly 1,100 fans in attendance, with the maximum capacity seating being 1,200. The show drew fans of all ages and backgrounds.  

"It was unbelievable," said Jeffrey Turnipseed, senior in engineering. "I never would have ever thought that I would be attending a Patti LaBelle concert. It's my first time seeing her, and it feels incredible."   

Periodically, the singer conversed with fans from the stage. One person expressed their fandom, and the singer gave him a white flower. In addition, she shared with fans how much she loves her family and her joy for the birth of her newborn grandchild. 

"I've followed her career since the 1960s and have seen her perform several times before," said Bernard Cale, minister of music at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. "I remember when she was a new singer in the industry. Seeing her transition over the years into this mega artist is amazing." 

LaBelle got personal with fans during her performance. The iconic singer paid tribute to her longtime friend and former bandmate Sarah Dash, who died in September. She dedicated the song "You Are My Friend" to Dash, along with an emotional video montage on a projector.

"It was so thoughtful of her to acknowledge her former bandmate, and you can tell her passing affected her," said Haley Willis, senior in psychology. "I stood up and started clapping and was even about to start crying."

Blowing kisses to the crowd, the vocalist ended the show with an energetic performance of the Grammy Hall of Fame inducted song, "Lady Marmalade." The performance had fans dancing and out of their seats.   

Following the show's conclusion, fans were able to purchase memorabilia from a vendor.

As she plans to make her next tour designation in Cincinnati, LaBelle leaves behind an enjoyable experience that some fans in the community will never forget. 

"Even though I am in my 20s, I grew up listening to her with my family," said Sydney Wood, senior in industrial and systems engineering. "I honestly had a lot of fun. It was a real Auburn Family moment. This will be with me forever, and I will be telling my kids about it someday."

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