Aretha Franklin went viral last December with her astounding rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in tribute to Carole King at the Kennedy Center Honors. Perhaps one shouldn’t expect less from the Queen of Soul. She’s 74 now, but Franklin’s recent stage appearances have been rock-steady enough to bolster her legend, making Friday’s rare concert at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in support of her 2014 album singing “Great Diva Classics” something not to miss. And she’s as liable to cover Adele as tackle “A Natural Woman” and “Respect.”
Fenway Park has been cooking all summer, including Thursday’s blockbuster turn by New York piano man Billy Joel, who shuffled his jukebox for a third year at the park with a horn-swinging “Big Man on Mulberry Street” as well as “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway”). He even brought out 13-year-old local piano prodigy Bradley Bartlett-Roche for “Root Beer Rag.” Joel’s not the only one doing trifecta business at Fenway though, as the Zac Brown Band (whose leader sat in with Joel last summer) tackles its own third year on Saturday and Sunday, delivering its cover-spiced, countrified fun on the large, production-heavy stage.
In the clubs, Boston’s psychedelic/garage scene gets showcased when the annual Fuzzstival hits the Middle East Downstairs. Friday features the Lyres, Creaturos and Mr. Airplane Man, while Saturday stands out with the return of Quilt, as well as Mini Dresses, Black Box Orchestra, Black Beach and Zip-Tie Handcuffs.
Saturday also brings blueswoman Bonnie Raitt to town after her heralded March show at the Orpheum, and this time she’s bringing British triple-threat Richard Thompson to Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. And local icon Peter Wolf makes another local appearance with his Midnight Travelers at Lowell’s Boarding House Park.
Finally, Sunday brings Prophets of Rage—the rap/rock supergroup where Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real front the instrumental core trio of Rage Against the Machine—to Mansfield’s Xfinity Center. Look for classics recast from their respective catalogs as they fight the power with election-year combustion.