When I was in my early twenties and not opposed to going out after 9pm, Tracy, Dan and I went to Novak’s, a now defunct gay bar in The Grove. Dan and I were newly out of college and taking it all in; a crowd of (mostly) lesbians, alcohol, and loud music. Still, the atmosphere was similar to other bars we’d been in…until “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Khan came on.
The lesbians went apeshit. I can only compare it to the Oprah’s Favorite Things SNL skit. (Full clip of that HERE.) Like visitors to a new planet, Dan and I watched the Bud Light fueled metamorphosis taking place as everyone realized what song was playing and began screaming. But all of the excited lesbians, one intrigued us more than the others. There was a woman sitting alone on a stool at the bar, and for some reason she was holding a balloon. No one else had balloons; just her. As the song played, she was hopping around on that stool and her face was full of a joy I haven’t seen since.
Last night Tracy and I attempted to capture some of that lesbian at the bar holding a balloon joy, as we went to see Chaka Khan for the first time. The people watching at The Fox was nearly as good as that night at Novak’s.
We settled into our seats in the 10th (!!!!) row.
Chaka was actually the opening act, as for some reason the O’Jays had top billing. She came out shortly after 8pm, and opened with “I Feel For You”, a song I associate with the roller skating days of my youth spent at The Great Skate Train.
Chaka looked great. For some reason I was picturing her as a frail, immobile older woman who would have to perform from a chair the whole time, but that was not the case. She worked the whole stage.
She comes across a bit like a drag queen in my photos but that’s not how she looked in person.
Everyone was taking photos. The person in the distance really went for it. She was taking photos with her iPad. That’s a new one.
Somewhere towards the end of her performance she did “Tell Me Something Good”.
She had the crowd on their feet and singing along and she sounded great, too.
Then she left the stage briefly and came back to do “Ain’t Nobody” and “I’m Every Woman”.
And that was that. I only know a couple of the O’Jays songs and thanks to The Apprentice I can’t help but associate “For the Love of Money” with the vile Donald Trump, so we left before they took the stage. We went to the grocery store and were home by 10pm. No regrets. We are a long way from the days of going out to Novak’s after 9pm.