At 71 years young, Patti LaBelle looked amazing and full of energy on Sunday night at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Within the first 30 seconds of taking the stage for her opening song “Need A Little Faith,” she immediately answered any questions of whether or not she still had the three-octave voice, leaving little doubt that LaBelle was in top form for her Portland performance. Hitting her stride, or strut if you will, on “New Attitude,” from there she just kept getting better.
Her 10-piece band, led by pianist John Stanley, were near flawless as they covered “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes), “Stay With Me” (Sam Smith) and “I Keep Forgettin'” (Michael McDonald), as well as a seemingly endless string of LaBelle’s hit songs including the classic “Lady Marmalade” (watch a retro video below), during which she invited three audience members up to sing and dance with her.
In closing, she covered “Over The Rainbow” and her final song was “There’s A Winner In You.” A fantastic show, there is really nothing that compares to seeing a performer of this caliber: She truly loves what she does—whether interacting with her fans or sharing the stage with her band. LaBelle is a consummate performer with unmistakable style and one of the greatest voices of our generation. She is one of the true original divas in my book.