Review | Patti LaBelle: At 71, singer is still a knockout in every way If Bruno Tonioli from the competition show Dancing with the Stars could have been at the Patti LaBelle show Friday night at the Ohio State Fair, he might have judged it by saying, “Patti, my darling, you were soulful, spunky and sensational!” That’s because Miss Patti can still belt out a tune, have fun on stage, connect with the audience and look marvelous, all at the same time. “I’ve been singing for 52 years. I’m 71 years young,” LaBelle told the audience after the first couple of songs. “I am so happy I’m able to sing. I’m never going to do Dancing with the Stars again, but thank you for (voting to keep her on) for so many weeks. But now you can see me on (the television series) Empire.” Along with a solid eight-man band and three mighty backup singers, LaBelle brought some props, including a big red chair and several pairs of high-heel shoes. Wearing a beautiful red dress with layers of fringe that shimmered whenever she moved, red high heels and a cute wig, LaBelle also used a box of tissues for wiping off the makeup that ran and burned her eyes, a mirror that she peered at a couple of times to check out how she looked, and some perfume she sprayed on herself. “The makeup is done, the hair is dipping, and the dress is dripping,” LaBelle said at one point, standing by a fan and saying she was so hot she felt like she was going through menopause. That was no surprise after knockout performances of songs such as If You Want Me To; Love, Need and Want You; On My Own; Stay With Me; If You Don’t Know Me By Now, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Another standout was Little Girls, dedicated to Bobbi Kristina Brown. Several audience members came up to take pictures of LaBelle on their cellphones. Before they were ushered away by security, she said it was all right if they took the picture during just this one song and then went back to their seats. “It’s a love fest,” she explained. LaBelle’s big disco hit, Lady Marmalade, was a fun affair. After the first chorus, LaBelle wanted four specific men to join her on stage: one black, one white, one gay, and one straight. The four guys, and two women, took turns singing the French verses and dancing with Miss Patti. For an encore, LaBelle sang You Are My Friend. The song was in memory of many of the people who had touched her life in one way or another, and their pictures were shown on the video screen, ranging from her family to singers such as Michael Jackson, Phyllis Hyman, Luther Vandross, Joe Cocker and Nina Simone; and entertainers such as Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. It, like the rest of the concert, was heartfelt and classy.