God Save the Queen!
When Kauffman Center for the Perfroming Arts announced in late July Aretha Franklin would headline its fundraiser in the Power & Light District, the stampede was on. Who wouldn’t want to see the Queen of Soul maybe one last time. As had been the case a few years back when James Brown played a local casino.
Tickets started at $35 for group gang bang concert ducats and $200 a pop for dinner and VIP seating.
“This is going to be the biggest party Kansas City has ever seen, bar none,” George Brett said in the PAC’s canned press issue. “This will bring the entire community together to celebrate the countdown to the launch of one of the world’s best venues to see some of the world’s best artists. – right here in Kansas City.”
Just one problem…
The Queen bailed at the last minute and the PAC had to dredge up Chaka Khan to fill in. After of course, most ticket buyers had plunked down their hard-earned to party with Aretha.
The excuse given – and unquestioned by the Star and other local media:
That the recent mugging of Franklin’s son necessitated her being by his side.
Longtime blues and R&B promoter Roger Naber was skeptical, noting Franklin’s rep for flaking.
Turns out Naber was right.
The National Enquirer now reports Franklin has pancreatic cancer and has only six months to live.
"The Enquirer has learned that Aretha Franklin has been hiding heartbreaking news from her millions of fans. She’s locked in a secret life-or-death battle with pancreatic cancer. The disease, the same one that tragically struck down Patrick Swayze, has only a 5 to 10 percent overall survival rate – and the singer’s age, obesity and poor physical condition lowers those odds even more, say experts."
Now the part where the cancelled Performing Arts Center gig comes into play…
"She was diagnosed six months ago after she started to feel very sick, and no matter what she did, the stomach pains would not go away," says a source close to Franklin. "An upbeat Aretha performed at President Obama’s Inauguration on January 20, 2009, but her health took a tragic turn for the worse over the past year."
And while the PAC was being told the 68 year-old singer couldn’t make its September fundraiser because of the mugging, "in August, a spokesman said Aretha had suffered a fall and broke some ribs, resulting in abdominal pain."