(courtesy of Christopher Gregory NYTimes)
Consider Erica Campbell, at the McDonald’s Gospelfest Saturday night at the Prudential Center. She’s got the No. 1 album on the Billboard gospel chart, and co-stars in a successful reality show, “Mary Mary,” on We TV. She’s a personage in this precinct, a cross-media star, from whom you’d expect some kind of show. She brought one: herself.
She was one of the festival’s main draws — although the daylong event, in its 32nd year, held at the Prudential Center since 2008, and for the past three years on Mother’s Day weekend, was a draw in and of itself: a six-hour matrilineage of gospel subtitled “Women Who Worship,” including many of the greatest living female gospel singers, preceded by a national singing competition. (The perennial local favorite Hezekiah Walker — the only male — closed with a short set.)
The evening concert ran three generations wide. It included the 32-year-old Tasha Cobbs, Vickie and CeCe Winans (related by marriage), Kim Burrell and Yolanda Adams, and the eminent elders Tramaine Hawkins, Shirley Caesar and the 80-year-old Cissy Houston, who are all forces of moral gravity, and all adepts of flickering, startling improvisation and audience control.
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