When Tina Turner's 1987 Peoria show left our critic and the audience breathless

Dean Muellerleile
Journal Star

"Unstoppable" singer and stage performer Tina Turner, who died Wednesday at age 83, made her mark across the globe.

In Peoria, the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" is remembered for an electrifying 1987 concert that amazed both critics and concertgoers — and also for creating an indelible memory for one Peorian who briefly shared the stage with her decades before.

More Peoria concerts:Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac mesmerized Peoria audience in 1976

From the archives

As for Turner's show in Peoria, she performed on Oct. 16, 1987. A rather breathless Journal Star review compared the show to Christmas on the Fourth of July: "The Civic Center had fireworks and lights, life and independence all wrapped up in a short-fuse cherry bomb named Tina Turner."

Tina Turner performs at the Civic Center in this Oct. 16, 1987, file photo.

The accolades kept coming: "The incredible show started fast and furious," with Turner a "whirlwind in a wig." The setlist ranged from "rousing rockers to beautiful ballads." Highlights, the story said, were "hard to list in a concert of standouts" but included "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Better Be Good to Me" and "Proud Mary."

In a May 1, 2008, story, the Journal Star asked readers for their favorite concert memories. Susie Duke chose Turner's 1987 performance, which fell on the East Peorian's 40th birthday. Turner "sang for like three hours, it was just amazing," Duke told the Journal Star. "('What's Love Got to Do With It') had just gotten really hot. She held out the microphone and we sang with her. I always tell people I sang with Tina Turner on my birthday — of course, there were 10,000 other people."

Looking back

Judy Page Adkisson Stokes is an iconic Peoria vocalist who has been singing since childhood. She went on the road briefly as a backup singer with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue weeks after graduating from Peoria High School.

On Wednesday, she looked back at her time as an "Ikette."

Judy Page

She said she first encountered the Turners at a 1963 Peoria show at Baty’s Barn, a musical venue on Galena Road. "One Turner stopped the show to ask if there might happen to be anyone in the audience who was a vocalist as he was auditioning to replace an 'Ikette' who was leaving the show soon," she said.

A friend recommended her, she was called to audition and then flew to Atlanta to join the revue. "And there was my first star-struck meeting with Tina Turner," she said.

"Anna Mae Bullock (aka) Tina Turner was a beautiful soul, very protective of my youth and naivete," Page said. "I clung to her nurturing and love at every turn. As it turned out, I could only deal with Ike's life advances for only six months, and returned home.

"It was quite the experience, I must say (one of those once in a lifetime happenstances), but at the same time I learned so much from this awesome woman about being a professional entertainer."