Rolling Out

Frankie Beverly & Maze farewell tour features legends of R&B and soul

El DeBarge and Chaka Khan and Frankie Beverly & Maze share an unforgettable evening celebrating decades of soul and R&B
Frankie Beverly at the "I Wanna Thank You Farewell Tour" at the United Center in Chicago (Photo courtesy of Christopher Lockridge)

On the evening of April 27, 2024, the United Center in Chicago witnessed an unforgettable farewell performance by the legendary Frankie Beverly, who was joined by iconic openers El DeBarge and Chaka Khan. The I Wanna Thank You farewell tour marked the conclusion of Beverly’s illustrious career and a celebration of decades of influential music.

The night started with El DeBarge, who effortlessly transported the audience back to the heyday of falsetto with his timeless charm and masterful vocal control. Known for his piercing falsetto that dominated the airwaves during the peak of his career, DeBarge proved he still holds the throne in the realm of high-pitched soulful melodies. His performance was a poignant reminder of why his music has endured, resonating with both longtime fans and new listeners.

Following DeBarge, Chaka Khan took the stage, amplifying the energy to remarkable heights. With a career spanning over 50 years, Khan’s performance was spectacular. Her voice, powerful and seemingly effortless, filled the arena, hitting every note with immaculate precision. Khan began her set with a short video montage of her hits, which served both as a nostalgic recap and a vibrant showcase of her dynamic range. Opting to perform a selection of B-sides, Khan celebrated her greatest hits and also illuminated her extensive catalog, highlighting her versatility and ongoing relevance in the music industry.

The climax of the evening was Frankie Beverly’s performance with Maze. Despite recent vocal complications, Beverly’s presence was a radiant display of resilience and joy. His songs, particularly classics like “We Are One,” “Golden Time of Day,” and “Happy Feelings,” are anthems of unity and happiness. As he performed, the audience was invited not just to listen but to participate, singing along and contributing to an atmosphere filled with love and collective joy. It was a powerful reminder of how his music has served as a soundtrack to many lives, fostering a sense of community and positivity.

The emotional resonance of the concert was further amplified when Mayor Johnson declared April 27 as “Frankie Beverly & Maze Day,” a fitting tribute to Beverly’s impact on the music scene and the cultural life of Chicago. This gesture from the city underscored the deep appreciation for Beverly’s contributions and his lasting legacy.

The concert was not only a farewell tour but also a master class in musical longevity and transformation. Each artist demonstrated adaptability and relevance, traits that have enabled them to resonate across different eras and continue to captivate audiences worldwide. The night was a poignant reflection on the passage of time, the enduring power of music, and the unbreakable bonds it creates.

The concert was a spectacular showcase of talent, resilience, and artistic brilliance. El DeBarge reminded us of the enchanting power of falsetto, Chaka Khan demonstrated the sheer force of her vocal prowess, and Frankie Beverly, alongside Maze, enveloped all in attendance in an aura of positivity and unity. This farewell was not just a goodbye but a celebration of timeless music that will continue to inspire and uplift for generations to come.

Take a look at a few photos from the tour below.

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