Legendary vocal diva Aretha Franklin, who is famously afraid of flying, will be performing her first show in the Bay Area since the 1980s when she plays Oakland's Oracle Arena on August 10. According to a press release, tickets for the show start at $42.50 and go on sale on Friday, March 13.
Franklin's shows will feature an A-list opening act in R&B producer and singer Babyface. The concert will support the Queen of Soul's latest album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which features covers of Adele's “Rolling in the Deep,” Sinead O'Connor's “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Etta James' “At Last” and Gladys Knight's “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
The Oakland concert is her third on the West Coast planned for the month of August, following shows in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara earlier in the week. Expect more dates to be announced in the future, since it would make sense for Franklin to perform as many shows as possible while she's out there.
Though Franklin refuses to fly, she does travel around the country frequently via bus. A few years ago, when there was speculation that she could become a judge on American Idol, Franklin insisted that she could take the gig despite her refusal to fly. “I’ve been to California from Detroit four times this year and Florida,” she said at the time. “I go wherever I choose to go comfortably on my custom bus.”
Franklin has performed at the Grammys and other functions in Los Angeles many times over the years, so she doesn't seem to have a problem getting around in America. She did miss out on an opportunity to perform at Queen Elizabeth's 50th Jubilee years ago because she wouldn't fly to England.
Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics was the singer's highest-charting album since 1985's Who's Zoomin' Who? Her remake of “Rolling in the Deep” reached the Top 50 on the R&B chart, giving Franklin her 100th career hit on that survey, the most ever among female artists. The dance remix of that track went all the way to No. 1, marking her first chart-topper on that countdown in 16 years.
Franklin has always been a great live performer and has made a remarkable comeback since her unspecified illness in 2010 had some tabloid outlets reporting that she was near death. She came back with a strong performance the next year at the Chicago Theatre, firmly establishing that she was back at the top of her game.