On Sunday, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., celebrated this year’s “honorees,” one of whom was Al Green. Last night, the soul legend appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, still wearing his Kennedy Center honors award around his neck. Green hasn’t toured in a couple of years, so it was a rare chance for most audiences to see the Reverend in action, and he delivered two of his signature songs.
Green and his backing band, joined by Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer, first performed a faithful rendition of 1971′s “Tired of Being Alone,” the singer’s expressive voice certainly weathered by the years but still singular. After smiles and handshakes with the host, whose future replacement Stephen Colbert oversaw the Kennedy Center ceremony, Green broke into the familiar introduction of 1972′s “Let’s Stay Together.” It’s a song most people wouldn’t have heard Green sing since President Barack Obama sang the opening lines of the song during his last presidential campaign.
Obama, who visited The Colbert Report last night, met the Kennedy Center honorees with First Lady Michelle Obama on Sunday at the White House. Along with Green, this year’s honorees were Sting, Tom Hanks, Patricia McBride and Lily Tomlin. Last year the honors went to the likes of Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana, while Buddy Guy, the members of Led Zeppelin and Letterman himself were among the honorees in 2012. As PBS reports, the Kennedy Center proclamation for Green states, “His iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own.”