At the age of 79, Gladys Knight is not slowing down, and Fayetteville is just one stop along a concert tour across three countries that stretches well into 2024.
Knight is bringing her soulful artistry to the Crown Theatre tomorrow night and tickets are still available through Ticketmaster. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Her performance is part of Community Concerts’ 88th season and comes just behind The Beach Boys, who are performing at the Crown Theatre tonight.
Local radio personality Jeff '“Goldy” Goldberg will introduce the R&B legend as she takes the stage and admits he is a big fan and is excited about the prospect of meeting her.”
“I have never met Gladys Knight,” he said during a phone call. “She’s a legend, and I hope I get to take a picture with her.”
Born in Georgia, Knight cut her teeth on gospel music, singing in the Mount Mariah Baptist Church at the age of 4. When she was 7, she won the grand prize on television’s Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour, which catapulted her to stardom, according to the official biography on her website.
Her mother put together a crew of background singers consisting of family members and called “The Pips,” a name was chosen in honor of Knight’s cousin and manager James Pip Woods.
This started a legendary string of popular hits, most notably one of Knight’s signature songs, “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
Other hits followed, and in 1985, Knight teamed with Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Dionne Warwick on “That’s What Friends are For,” released as a charity single for AIDS research and prevention.
Knight received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995, and the next year, Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Last December, she was recognized at the 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts.
For Goldberg, his appearance on the Crown Theatre’s stage will be bittersweet. At 65, the longtime DJ and radio host is retiring and hanging up his microphone on December 1.
He has been introducing bands at concerts in the complex for 16 years, starting with Three Dog Night. Prior to coming on board at WFNC 640 AM as the host of Good Morning Fayetteville, he was a DJ on an oldies station, and the opportunity to introduce Gladys Knight feels like familiar territory.
Goldberg attributes her longevity in the entertainment business to her universal appeal and staying power. Having her perform at the Crown Theatre just adds to the theatre’s stature as a valued music venue.
He’s looking forward to the concert Friday night and hopes to hear some of his favorite songs.
“I love her version of ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine,’ which she recorded before Marvin Gaye came out with his version,” he said. “I also love “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye).”
It’s a song that just might sum up Gladys Knight’s feelings about keeping her career going as long as possible.