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September 19 Arts and Entertainment Source: Janice Maxie Reeds seeks r-e-s-p-e-c-t

When Aretha Franklin performed Aug. 10, 2015 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland — her first appearance in the Bay Area in 30 years — Janice Maxie Reid knew she had to seize the day.

A veteran vocalist and pianist herself, Maxie Reid realized it could be — and was — her last shot at witnessing the Queen of Soul.

“I took one of my mentors with me because she had never seen Aretha. I said, ‘You have to see the queen before she leaves.’”

Three years later — Aug. 16, 2018 — Maxie Reed was in Philadelphia when she got the word. Franklin died at home in Detroit. She was 76.

“The world lost a phenomenal talent which we shall never see again. I thought, ‘The queen’s got to continue’ because she’s been so much a part of my musical life,” Maxie Reid said. “Her songs … her style … and her church connection.

Not long after, “Aretha Franklin” was born, a tribute by Maxie Reed that includes a five-piece band and support vocalists, presented Oct. 12 at the Downtown Theatre in Fairfield.

It’s Maxie Reid’s fourth presentation of all that is Aretha after debuting in Oakland a short time after Franklin’s death from a pancreatic tumor.

“I felt compelled to create a show honoring her,” Maxie Reid said.

It only took “a couple of months of planning” and two or three rehearsals because everyone — the musicians, the vocalists — knows Aretha tunes.

The big challenge early was “trying to figure out what songs to keep and what songs to not keep,” Maxie Reid said.

There are plenty to choose from. Franklin had 73 songs in the Billboard Top 100, including 17 in the Top 10. Two — “R.E.S.P.E.C.T” in 1967 and “I Knew You Were (Waiting For Me” with George Michael in 1987 — made it to

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