Twelve years ago today, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center officially opened. While that day was cold and wet, two days earlier, inside Robinson Center Music Hall, patrons were warmed by the musical talents of Aretha Franklin.
She shared the Robinson stage with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The ASO brough Miss Franklin to town as part of the festivities surrounding the opening of the presidential library. Long a favorite of the Clintons, Miss Franklin sang at his 1993 inaugural festivities the night before he took the oath of office.
Resplendent in a series of white dresses, Miss Franklin was in top form feeding off the love from the audience. While backstage she may have been dealing with back and knee issues (which the Culture Vulture saw first hand), when she stepped on to the stage she was giving her all as she rolled through hit after hit from her starry career. She sang, she played the piano, she entertained!
It was a sold out house and her voice and energy reached the last row of the balcony.
Prior to her appearance, the ASO played a few selections including variations on “Hail to the Chief” and “America.”