Sir Elton John, others remember Aretha Franklin's final live performance
HOUSTON – Sir Elton John said Aretha Franklin’s performance at The Elton John AIDS Foundation was her last.
That day, her voice filled the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
"We were all prepared to support her in some way,” said Million Air CEO Roger Woolsey, of Houston.
Woolsey is a pilot. He was prepared to help her, if needed. Instead, her performance stunned everyone.
"We knew she wasn't feeling well when she did the show. We really had no idea how she felt. It was amazing, because of the show. You wouldn't have known," Woolsey said.
John, actors Alec Baldwin and Neil Patrick Harris, and former President Bill Clinton were all there, but it was the Queen of Soul who everyone heard and remembers.
"When Aretha came out, it was standing room only rushing the stage. It's amazing to watch people of their stature. CEOs of major Fortune 100 companies rush a stage for a show," Woolsey said.
John introduced her that night as “The greatest soul artist of all time.”
After her death, in a post on Instagram, he wrote, ”She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept.”
That included Woolsey.
"You hear great singers singing often. But it's soul-piercing because you really feel it all the way down to your soul," Woolsey said.
View this post on Instagram
The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. @arethasings #RIP #ArethaFranklin #QueenOfSoul @ejaf
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