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Terisa Griffin returned to Chicago's City Winery with four sold out shows                 

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Review & photos by TheRealJAG © Just Past Prime 

On June 18, 2021, Terisa Griffin made her first return to a Chicago venue since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, amid trying times for the singer. In addition to the challenges of the soloist performing four shows in two evenings, Griffin shared that she arrived in Chicago less than twenty-four hours after attending a relative's funeral. The songstress provided an emotionally charged, memorable performance with her band members: Walter English III (piano), Gregory Landfair (guitar), Eric Johnson (drums), Jay Red (bass guitar), along with background vocalists: China, Cinnamon and Kenyotta Stewart.

Griffin opened the early show with her remake of Aretha Franklin’s classic, “Oh Me, Oh My” where the contralto exhibited a full range of expressive highs and sultry lows in front of a packed house. She praised God for being able to perform live, even with COVID restrictions in place. After a sip of wine, the singer launched into a spirit filled version of Barbra Streisand's timeless standard "The Way We Were", to the delight of her fans.

 

Walter English III provided a mellow piano accompaniment, paired with Griffin’s dynamic vocals that included intricate, soulful melismas and chilling runs throughout her self-written ballad, “Anymore”. The intensity of the song appeared to be fueled by memories which left her scorned and vengeful, as she described a painful break-up.

 

Griffin’s masterful rendition of Phyllis Hyman’s “Meet Me on the Moon” stirred the audience to sway in their seats, many with closed eyes and raised hands. During a personalized version of “Superstar”, popularized by Luther Vandross, Ms. Griffin showcased heartfelt pleading, infused with scorching sensuality throughout each phrase. While continuing to sing, she crouched down imploring, “Why can't you love me? You're my superstar...you didn't complain, you said my name! You screamed real loud baby, whew!! Now where you at baby?”  The entertainer smoothly yet gingerly stood up saying, "You know when you get my age, you have to bring it up easy now. Can’t be like you was on the stripper pole on 75th street!”, igniting roars of laughter.

 

The crowd sang along to a well executed Earth, Wind & Fire medley which included “Fantasy”, “Can’t Hide Love”, “Reasons”, “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “After the Love Has Gone”. Once applause subsided, the songbird and self- proclaimed foodie referenced her internet cooking show, Tee Thyme, created during the pandemic to maintain strong connections with her fan family. The show's most ardent supporters, affectionately referred to as "Tee Thymers", were vociferously conspicuous after she acknowledged their presence.

Griffin playfully joked with the staff about having to wait for whiskey after receiving wine. Showing off her acting skills, the performer frequently interacted with her sixty-seven year old internal alter ego named “Hazel”, who complained that their dress was too hot. During a brief wardrobe change, the band began a spirited, jazzy version of Natalie Cole's “Tell Me All About It (Ask a Woman Who Knows)”. Griffin quickly joined in with seductive, teasing vocals and energetic scatting, while mimicking precise guitar riffs played by the late Gregory Landfair:

Landfair’s exceptional bluesy guitar solo during Ray Charles’ “Night Time Is the Right Time” along with Griffin’s fiery, passionate vocals, filled the winery with electricity during the Juneteenth weekend. The evening concluded with Griffin’s original song “Wonderful”, which was clearly a fan favorite. Its deliberate, grinding tempo later segued into the upbeat Soulful House version as concert goers stood and danced along.

 

It is easy to appreciate Terisa Griffin’s ability to deliver flawless vocals, without hiding the richness of her voice behind unnecessary music or auto tune. The versatile singer shines across many genres including Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Soul and House, keeping listeners intrigued between selections. Griffin, whose authenticity radiates through her unabashed vulnerability, bright smile, unapologetic humor and spectacular vocal styling encompasses everything you will want to experience the next time this international recording artist graces your city.

 

Visit www.terisagriffin.com for information on Terisa Griffin's concerts, music, merchandise and more.

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