Music fans are mourning the passing of the “Queen of Soul.” Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer Thursday at her home in Detroit at age 76.
Franklin headlined the 25th annual Saturday in the Park show in Sioux City’s Grandview Park in 2015. Promoter Dave Bernstein says he had tried several times to book Franklin, then one day he got a phone call from a private number.
“I answered the phone and I hear on the other end of the line: “Dave Bernstein, Aretha Franklin,'” he says. “It was Aretha called me…wanting to talk specifically about the hotels and make those arrangements herself.”
Franklin took care of the bookings in Sioux City.
“She came in and put down her own credit card for the incidentals for all her band. She took care of all the business herself. That was the one word of advice her management gave me — because she’d been rumored to be difficult to deal with, but she was actually a pleasure to deal with — and the one guy said, ‘Hey, as long as you realize all the business goes through Aretha and none of her entourage, you’ll be fine.'”
Franklin traveled to Sioux City in her tour bus and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel. Bernstein says she asked the bellhops to wait until all of her dresses and cases of sheet music were brought into her room.
“When she was ready and everything was there, she sat down on the couch, pulled out her purse, pulled out a big wad of $100 bills and, one at a time, they ushered them in, she whipped out a $100 bill and gave it to them,” Bernstein says. “All of those kids walked out with $100 that Aretha handed them.”
Franklin performed all of her hits like “Respect” and ‘Natural Woman” at the Sioux City show which would be her last Iowa performance. She received a nice review next day in the Sioux City Journal. Franklin sent Newspaper Editor Bruce Miller a bouquet of flowers and a thank you note for his kind words about her show.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)