Gladys Knight took the stage at Tropicana in Las Vegas

Apr 27, 2011 6:45 AM

Gladys Knight took the stage to a standing ovation in her first performance at the Gladys Knight Theater and said that this "would be more than a concert. It would be an experience."

Well, it was a step higher. It was a privilege.

"I want to thank the Tropicana for giving me this incredible honor," she told a full house of fans, VIPs and media last Tuesday. "Everything that has happened to me over the years has been because of you. We’re going back on a journey when I was, well, younger. We’re going to relive all the songs you made hits for me."

And we all gladly rode that "Midnight Train To Georgia" through 90 memorable minutes of songs, stories, tributes and photos from a chilling voice that defies time.

"It is so terrific being here at the Tropicana because I have a chance to go home after the show, spend more time with the family and experiment with new material," said Bubba Knight, Gladys’ older brother and multiple Grammy Award winner, who had a sizable part in the concert. "She’s giving me so much freedom in her show to do whatever I feel creatively and I love that kid for that, man."

Bubba said he and Gladys are in an even better situation than five or six years ago when they performed down the street at the Flamingo.

"Not putting what was happening at the Flamingo down, but I think I am a little more mature right now, appreciate what we are doing maybe a little bit better," said Bubba, who plays softball regularly in town in a group that includes GamingToday columnist Sid Diamond and singer Lamont McLemore of the famed Fifth Dimension. "I’m lovin’ it, man. Every minute."

And so did we.