Detroit – A sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 fans gathered at the Cloudy skies at Chene Park on Thursday when an All-Star cast of singers paid tribute to the Queen of the Soul.
Set against the backdrop of the Detroit River and anchored in the river as two dozen boats, including a freighter, thousands gathered in the waterfront amphitheater for a farewell celebrating Aretha Franklin's music and her place in the pantheon of singers and civil rights
] Others, without tickets, posted themselves outside on the hilly grasslands, struggling to hear the sounds of the concert. Specters filled the stage and the audience or offered tributes: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Patti LaBelle, the four tops, actor and director Tyler Perry, who received one of the biggest ovations of the evening and said, "There's no room for it the world knows how to send someone like Detroit home. "
Others Offered Video Tributes: Singer Patti LaBelle, Motown Founder and Producer Berry Gordy
The stage was dressed in white, Franklin's name was in glittering, red writing over a raised drums.
Family members sat in the crowd, including their grandchildren Jordan, Victorie, and Gracie, who made comments The night before the funeral at the Greater Grace Temple Church for Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer on August 16
"It really is inspiring to see how many people touched my grandma, "said Victorie thanking the fans for her s
The evening began with a tribute to Franklin's classic views, with Rodrick Dixon evoking" Nessun Dorma. " Detroit's radio personality Coco, one of the evening's presenters, stepped onto the stage and said the night should be "the world knows that love is in Detroit," and that the crowd and the assembled talent – more than 50 singers, dancers Band members and artists – had come together "to celebrate the light, love and legacy of Franklin."
The crowd near the front of the stage stood and clapped, raising their hands to the sky, while Derrick Starks and his 25-piece gospel choir performed a rousing tribute, while Tasha Page-Lockhart sang an interpretation of "Amazing Grace" that seemed to reach across the river to Windsor
"We all know that Aretha Franklin loved a church," Starks said , "Can we have a small church?"
LaBelle urged everyone to "work for the Queen" after dedicating a performance of "You Are My Friend".
Perry followed her and featured cast members from OWN's "The Haves and the Have Nots," including John Schneider, Crystal Fox, Peter Parros, Aaron O'Connell, Renee Lawless. Then singer and actress Lewis brought the house down with a funny, touching tribute.
"I came to the city to honor the queen!" Said Lewis, who recited an original song with the text "Thank you, Aretha of all mankind".
"No one can sing like Aretha, and nobody will ever sing like Aretha!" She said.
Other artists who filled the night included Music Director Kern Brantley, Regina Belle, Raheem DeVaughn, Johnny Gill, Dave Hollister, Angela Davis, Detroit's Keith Washington, Cherry Black, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Doug Carn, Jean Carne, Kurt Carr, Stefanie, Christian, Raheem DeVaughn and George Faison
More: 2,000 members of the public allowed in Franklin's funeral
Gordy apologized Because he was not in Detroit on Thursday, he offered one Tribute to.
"Certain artists come once in a decade, others once in a lifetime, but Aretha Franklin came in only once, time," said Gordy. "How happy we are to have been part of this unique, beautiful soul Maid, although she was never under contract at Motown, we were all proud to watch her ascend … Aretha always kept her real, a soul straight from heaven. "
A" Respect "finale with everyone Participants closed the event.
Ellen Sanders of Redford Township said she hopes to hear "Respect," her favorite song from Franklin.
Dymond Moore of Detroit spent her day at Franklin Events, early at New Bethel Baptist Church and then at Chene Park. She said she met Franklin in New York in 2010.
"I saw her while I ate in Benihana and she was with her boyfriend," she said. "I'll never forget how bad I freaked out, I got the courage to go to her and I said I'm also from Detroit and how much I admired her, she said:" Oh hey ! & # 39; got up, took off her coat and took a picture with me. "
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