Aretha Franklin surprises crowd at concert

Nov. 6, 2011 at 6:27 PM
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CLEVELAND, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Aretha Franklin surprised a crowd at Cleveland's State Theater by showing up for a special encore performance at a tribute concert honoring her.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Chief Executive Officer Terry Stewart, who acted as the Saturday night concert's master of ceremonies, promised the crowd a special surprise, The Detroit News reported. After 3 hours of songs performed by her friends, admirers and peers, the 69-year-old

Queen of Soul graced the stage for a special encore.

Before the star took the stage at 10 p.m., Jerry Butler, Chaka Khan, Dennis Edwards of the Temptations, Ronald Isley, Lauryn Hill, Carla Cook, Cissy Houston, Melinda Doolittle and others performed.

Franklin, who has been beset by health problems in recent years, played piano and sang "A Song For You," by Leon Russell, accompanied by Edwards, Butler, Houston and Isley.

Mike Farris, a Nashville gospel singer who performed "Mary Don't You Weep," summed up the show backstage after Franklin performed.

"She has a unique emotive power in her voice and her being," Farris said. "Aretha sings, not because she wants to but because she has to."

Before the show, Franklin toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with friend Willie Wilkerson.

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