Tina Turner still rocks at 68

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By Calen McKinney

It wasn't really my scene, but I loved every minute of it.

A few weekends ago, my mother and I traveled to Atlanta, Ga. to see one of her all-time favorite artists in concert - Tina Turner.

I knew from the moment I stepped into Philips Arena that this concert was going to be a bit different than ones I have been to before.

First, there were no cowboy hats or opening acts. The stage looked massive and more like the set of a production than a concert.

There were about 21,000 seats filled with people my mother's age, and older, and I suddenly felt really, really young. The arena offered gourmet dessert stands, expensive food and lots - and lots - of alcohol, none of which we consumed.

The concert began with a bang (almost 45 minutes late, I might add) and Turner, 68, who turns 69 in just two days, came out rockin' - atop a rising platform in the middle of the stage.

She sang (at incredibly high octaves). She danced (in stiletto heels, no less), had numerous elaborate costume changes and ran across the stage without any worry of falling into the crowd.

I was impressed.

I like Tina Turner's music and enjoyed hearing her live. She had given her "farewell" tour eight years ago but decided that she could still "do it," according to her tour program, and decided to kick off another tour.

My mother saw her in concert in 1985 - when I was only 3 years old - and found the program she purchased at that concert for just $7. Today's oversized concert programs cost at least $30.

Turner has changed a bit over the years, as I saw when comparing the two programs, but she still looks amazing. She still wears what some might find to be overly provocative clothing and sings songs about what some might label as inappropriate topics.

Throughout my childhood, I paid close attention to my parents' musical taste. Turner's music was heard often at our house. The Eagles, Cher, Aerosmith, Jefferson Airplane, Stevie Nicks, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Simon and Garfunkel and James Taylor were heard a lot, too.

I guess my love of music comes from my parents, and I'm certainly glad about that. I'm also glad that my mom enjoys going to concerts as much as I do. I'm sure she felt out of place at one of my Brad Paisley shows, or felt kind of strange at a boy band concert in the 1990s with thousands of screaming teenage girls.

I'll admit, I felt a little out of place at the Tina Turner concert. Maybe it was the interesting M.A.R.T.A. - Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transmit Authority - ride before and after the concert or the way the stadium shook when everyone (excluding me) literally jumped up and down and danced to what had to have been Turner's millionth performance of "Proud Mary."

Throughout the past few years, my mom and I have gone to some good concerts together. We have seen The Rolling Stones play live at Churchill Downs, saw Cher give her "farewell" tour, heard Sugarland play multiple times in several states and cities, and seen our favorite (and not so favorite) American Idol contestants perform.

All in all, Tina Turner's show makes my Top 5 list of best concerts ever. Her performance, though, wasn't really a concert. It was a production.

There was fire, movable stage pieces that hung over the crowd, ninjas, dancers, several dramatic costume changes and lots and lots of Manolo Blahniks.

Not bad for a 68-year-old.