The 5 Best Things We Heard at the Aretha Franklin Show Last Night

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Aretha in 1968. (Photo / NPR)

5. On BART:

"Do you want some of this soda?"

"Girl, you know I don't drink soda unless it has alcohol in it."

4. Babyface, show opener, sprinting around the stadium during a Boyz II Men medley granting hugs to any lady fast enough to swarm his path.

Bless you, YouTube user AJ Bilal, for capturing him serenading 19,000 people with "End of the Road" (which he wrote).

3. After Aretha sits down at the piano to play a water-themed medley (her own gospel tune "Still Waters Run Deep" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water"):

"Oh, she can play the piano too?"


2. Aretha changing the lyrics of said water-themed medley to talk about her health problems in 2010: praying before going into the operating room, and "coming out of the operating room with flying colors."


"And like my grandma used to say," she hollered, "it's not how you go in, it's how you come out."

(Instagram / leonnyan)
(Instagram / leonnyan)

1. The thing about seeing a legend like Aretha Franklin is that there is no real way to review a show by a legend like Aretha Franklin. She has 18 Grammys. She's sold 75 million records. Her voice is unmistakable -- one of those voices that feels like it was in your bones before you were verbal enough to name it -- and it's still unmistakably strong. Her range would be impressive for a 25-year-old, and the woman is 73. She gets tired, which is understandable. (This morning, it was announced that she had canceled this Friday's show in Las Vegas, citing exhaustion). She still refuses to fly.

Before last night, she hadn't played the Bay Area in 37 years. We have no delusions about ever getting to hear her again. But by a landslide, the best thing we heard last night was Aretha motherf---ing Franklin. The best thing we've heard in a very long time, actually.

"If I could shake each of your hands tonight, I would, Oakland," she said as she prepared to make her exit, silver-sequined dress glinting under spotlight. We'll take what we can get, Aretha. And last night, we got plenty. Now excuse us while we listen to this for the 17th time today.