A couple of weeks ago I had the thrill of seeing Mavis Staples’s 80th birthday concert at the Apollo Theatre. It was a first for me across the board: first Mavis, first Apollo. It was a divine evening. A favorite moment was Ms. Staples performing the Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” with David Byrne. I broke my no-camera-at-live-shows-live-in-the-moment-goshdarnit rule to save 15 seconds of that for my memories.
Another highlight was Ms. Staples’s duet with Valerie June, on June’s song “Livin’ on a High Note.” Ms. Staples’s recorded version is up top, but the live duet had even more soaring energy and joy. It has stayed with me, and made me a Valerie June fan, for sure. She lived up to her neon green dress.
At the end of the show (which featured your fave Jon Batiste on keyboards for “I’ll Take You There”), everybody came back on stage for an all-star rendition of The Band’s “The Weight”—i a sublime moment of togetherness.
So, that’s my advice for this week’s Knit to This: get some Mavis Staples in your ears, and think how young 80 years old can be.
Looking for a playlist? New York’s WFUV has a great one.
And you can stream the whole Livin’ on a High Note album here.