Rio '88

Tina Turner

What could I say about Tina Turner that could possibly add to her legend? Of course, her infamous early years with ex-husband Ike are well documented. Her solo career and ‘comeback’ celebrated her ability to stick it out through all the years and musical changes. And lest we forget — this is the woman Mick Jagger stole most of his moves from! On the new Rio’88 DVD, we see clear evidence of why this lady is the legend she is.

Taken from a concert performed in front of a festival crowd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rio ‘88 features a tight 13-song set of Turner's biggest hits. With as big a backing band as she probably ever employed, the concert features Ms. Turner in all her sweaty, hip-shaking, stiletto-heeled, wig-wearing glory. The show might be a bit brief and, to tell you the truth, one gets the feeling that this is at the end of her resurgence. Still, it shows how the singer remains truly in a league of her own.

Highlights here are safe and sure: the obligatory audience call-and-response of “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the always-amazing “Proud Mary,” “Better Be Good To Me,” and a startling rendition of the Beatles’ “Help.” While the cameras mostly focus on Turner or her band, during “Proud Mary,” they cut away to fireworks instead Turner’s shaking hips. I ask this question incessantly: why does the director/editor feel it necessary to show fireworks or a audience member playing air guitar when the performers are in the midst of something great right on stage? You know they have the footage — use it dammit! What we do see is the lady doing her best spinning, booty-shaking moves. And if that’s not worth the price of this DVD, I don’t know what is!

Rio’88 is a solid concert performance of one of rock and roll’s most gifted perfromers. While it comes along years after Turner’s MTV glory days, celebrated autobiography, the controversial movie that followed, and duet at Live Aid with Mick Jagger (remember when he pulled of her leather skirt off?), it’s great to see how this vintage and soulful singer could deliver like very few can.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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