When Patti LaBelle’s “Over the Rainbow” comes on, her shoes come off. But she packed an extra kick for her onstage tradition last Sunday (Sept. 13), when she competed against fellow soul legend Gladys Knight in a Verzuz battle.
In an interview on Apple Music Hits’ The Estelle Show Thursday (Sept. 17), LaBelle recapped how her right heel landed smack on her kneecap for an unforgettable moment.
“Here’s what happened: When I’m on stage, so as I think I explained to some people, I brought most of my stage equipment with me — my trunks for my shoes that I place on the piano on stage. But since we didn’t have a piano, I bought my trunks to put my pumps on because I love to change shoes during my show,” she explained. “And I brought my carpet and I just brought a few personal things, pretending that I was on tour. This is a stage show, right?”
But on Sunday night, LaBelle told Knight how the stage at Philadelphia’s The Fillmore, the official venue of their Verzuz battle, was a lot smaller compared to the others she’d performed the same song — and trick — on.
“So, honey, when I’m standing up and doing ‘Over the Rainbow,’ I kick my shoes off, but I have a long way for that shoe to fly. Honey, that shoe kicked off and landed on my knee. I have scars on my right knee,” LaBelle continued. “That heel went in my knee. I said, ‘Oh Jesus!’ I said, ‘So will I be able to finish dancing because this knee is hurting me so bad?’ But that was a moment that I love because it was real. It was real.”
Listen to snippets of her interview on The Estelle Show on Apple Music Hits below.