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Hey guys,
We went and watched a friend who plays drums in a Queen tribute band last year and after a few
drinks on the way home in the car my wife suggested we do an Aretha show, almost 6 mnths later
we did our first go at it .
Lots of learning curves, The outfit choices etc . but overall we had a blast .
Anyway I thought Id put up a link for friends here :)

We named the show 'RESPECT ' which we were paying to the queen of soul

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DonnyThompson Sat, 04/25/2015 - 00:45


I like that you threw in the Dionne Warwick tune as well. Just because Aretha didn't originally do Say A Little Prayer For You doesn't mean you shouldn't do it -( I know she did do it, but originally it was Warwick who had the hit with it) - or many other similar songs during that era - because while Lady Soul might not have done some of those songs, she sure as hell could have, and I don't think there's any argument that she would have crushed a song like Dusty Springfield's Son Of A Preacher Man. ;)

Do you also do Natural Woman? If you don't, you should. ;)

The things is, most people who would go see a tribute to Aretha wouldn't mind hearing other similar-style songs from the same period. Because all of those songs are songs that Aretha could have done. It's not like you are throwing in some totally off the wall song like In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida... LOL.

Along with all the Aretha stuff, You could also pick up Anyone Who Had A Heart, ( Warwick) Son Of A Preacher Man, ( Dusty Springfield) and any of those Female R&B/Soul songs from 'around '62 - '72.
Hell... for that matter, you could even throw in some Etta James ( At Last ) and some Natalie Cole, too ( This Will Be )

Your wife has the perfect voice for this stuff. Well done, Sir. ( And hat's off to her and the other musicians you have in your show as well).

paulears Sat, 04/25/2015 - 02:08

Love it! Works really well. You mentioned outfits - what's the plan? I note Aretha Franklin was a pretty colourful dresser. Colour can be really useful. You had nice lighting at the video venue, but that's (at least here) not quite universal - many of the shows we do have very basic lighting in theatres - maybe a few colour washes, and some front light, but for one-nighters here, it's rare for these kinds of venues to effort into lighting, so ramping up your colours can help pull everyone out at the murky venues. I worked with a Dusty Springfield tribute for a while and because BVs are such an important part, they had identical looking clothes, but each one a different colour, and of course 'Dusty' had the colour and the individual selected stuff.

So, loved the sound and the performances - but visually, needs brightening up. I hope you get lots of work, you deserve to!

dvdhawk Sat, 04/25/2015 - 09:56

Musically, outstanding. Vocally, phenomenal. Very well done to everyone all around.

This was an excellent debut. You'll tidy up some of those small details in costuming and choreography just by performing the show on a regular basis.

Which leads to my question moving forward. How taxing is a night of powerhouse Aretha songs on your vocalists? It came across as very powerful, yet almost totally effortless, for your wife and the other ladies as well (which is staggering, given the song selection). Everyone has been ramping up to this for 6 months and building up those vocal muscles for this first performance. I would think that if you're in the right area, and/or willing to travel, this act could really take off quickly - if that's something you all want to do. The little things will take care of themselves. Your challenge will be juggling the schedules of everyone in a 10-pc band, and keeping your singers healthy and in the same glorious voice as opening night.

Smashh Sun, 04/26/2015 - 09:00

The band is a little big , but we are not interested in slimming it down . Everything is live and we will keep it that way ( even if we dont get any work
We have thought of getting a trombone for the brass to beef it up , that would be great .
I guess it was a challange we gave ourselves and even if it never happens again , its something off the bucket list .

We are in a small city so we would have to go away and it would be for maybe a weekend at a time if we did.
Juanita ( lead vox) didnt do any warm up she started cold , (as she always does at a normal gig) .
THe set was 1 respect 2 since you've been gone (sweet baby ) 3 chain of fools 4 natural woman ..... Well her voice clicked in to running well and open
after Chain of fools ,she said she felt her chest open up . We did 15 songs in one set only .
Juanita ( my wife ) has been blessed with that ability to make it look effortless . She does expel alot of energy through a nights work and it was a test for her.
Usually at a gig we dont have a set list , so she can pick and choose as she feels at that time and it feels like we are jamming so we can keep the love for it strong.
Theres been countless times where people cry while listening to a ballad she sings ( and I do get emotional while accompanying her )
The song Hellajullah almost always gets that response and, Imagine , What a wonderful world . Fantastic songs and when delivered with heart and soul .....

When we looked for players we focused on having a fun experience through the practices , and tried to take the path of least resistance for endings etc.
The ladies would get together twice a month and they made it a social gathering, sometimes sitting in a swimming pool practicing.I think they want to
keep it going for the get together times

We did have a little incident between the keys and the drums at 1 rehearsal . The keyboard player wanted to impress upon the drummer (youngest in group)
how , in his younger years ,when he didnt get the groove right , his band members hung him from the balcony and he thought he was gonna die ....hehe
Well we are more nurturing and dont expect perfection cause it dosent exist . If we were all spot on the same groove , I personally think it would be boring.
Might be real funky ,but its only good for a few minutes IMHO.

Thanks for the positive feedback guys , glad you enjoyed it :)
We are sending demo out and see if we get any bites , There is some cooporate type gigs that we could do here .

DonnyThompson Sun, 04/26/2015 - 23:09

I think you should contact an agency that specializes in tribute acts. A good friend of mine works as a lead guitar player in a Billy Joel Tribute - he has had that gig for over ten years now - it's based out of Vegas but he lives here in Cleveland, and they fly him out to wherever the shows are - and these aren't bars or nightclubs for a couple hundred bucks, either. They play concert halls and amphitheaters, which are located anywhere between Miami - Cancun - NYC - Toronto - London. These are very nice gigs, which pay very, very well... it's not uncommon for him to make up to $2000 per show, plus having all his traveling and accommodation expenses paid. He does an average of 25-30 shows per year.

Another friend of mine has played in a Beatles tribute act for over 25 years. His act, "1964", has played all over the world. He's made a very comfortable living playing the part of John Lennon, playing professional shows at beautiful venues, where guests in the audience have included people like George Martin, Patti Boyd and Julian Lennon.

There's absolutely no reason you couldn't do the same with your tribute act; especially with this act, Ash, because it's refreshingly different than your typical, run of the mill Journey-Eagles -Fleetwood Mac tribute acts, which the tribute industry is currently flooded with.

If you were able to add some cool visuals, maybe some period clothing, maybe some kind of audience participation "shtick" that you do in the show somewhere - and anything else that could further set you apart from typical tributes - which IMO you are already set apart to begin with - your act could do very well. You just need to contact someone and get a well-produced video to an agency that specializes in GOOD tribute acts, and who can get you those higher paying jobs.

IMHO of course. ;)

PS - And, if you think that tribute acts can't do big, professional shows ?
You should watch the vid below: