TVD Live: Mavis Staples at Thalia Hall, 3/19

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | Legendary singer Mavis Staples returned to her home town for two nights at Thalia Hall this past weekend. She was supported by Chicago-based group, The Flat Five.

The show opened with the sweet sounds of The Flat Five. Making old songs sound new again with their jazzy arrangements, The Flat Five covered a wide range of material including The Free Design’s “I Found Love” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Mother Beautiful.” They peppered the set with witty banter telling the audience, “We are well aware we’re you’re appetizer,” before clearing the way for Mavis.

Mavis Staples entered the stage to a standing ovation and took her time to greet each fan with a wave before she settled into her first song, “If You’re Ready.” After the first few selections Mavis exclaimed, “We’re happy to be home!” It was a homecoming reunion as she listed the friends and family that came out to see her. When a fan shouted “I love you, Mavis!” she replied, “I love you, too!” and turned to the audience, “You know, that’s my cousin.”

The night was a celebration as she played new and old favorites and even worked in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for one of her backup singers. Her songs made the seated crowd take a stand and fill the aisles as they bounced and twirled to her message of joy. As she approached the front of the stage her admirers cheered and went up to meet her. “You’re all my friends” she said as she held as many hands as possible. The audience was left full of happiness as they marveled at the energy and positivity the legend brought to the night.

THE FLAT FIVE

Staples’ current album, Livin’ On A High Note is produced by M. Ward and includes songs written by Neko Case, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, and more. The album will be available on vinyl on April 1st.

SETLIST:
If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)
Take Us Back
Slippery People (Talking Heads’ cover)
Respect Yourself
Freedom Highway
Love and Trust
Can You Get to That
Friendship
High Note
For What It’s Worth
I’ll Take You There

ENCORE:
The Weight

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