Franklin’s Comeback A Big Hit

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May 22, 2011 | 6:30pm EST

Soul legend Aretha Franklin assured fans she was back in good health after a 2010 scare by staging a 100-minute comeback concert in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday.
The show was her first since she scrapped a series of performances last October, due to a health crisis which still remains a mystery.

And she lived up to her diva reputation upon taking to the stage, demanding that venue staff turn the air conditioning off, “so I don’t have to leave the stage.”

Almost 90 pounds lighter than the last time she performed onstage, Franklin belted out classics like Chain of Fools, Respect and Freeway of Love, backed by a 21-piece orchestra.

She was in a playful mood and stopped the concert to hint about a romance with late soul king Sam Cooke, telling the crowd, “We were in New Orleans, and he stopped by my hotel room… The next day, I stopped by his room. He wasn’t married then.”

Revd. Jesse Jackson and celebrity judge Greg Mathis were among the “friends” who joined her onstage, and she was surprised by a city alderman, who declared that 19 May was Aretha Franklin Day in Chicago.