EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes of Gladys Knight's Triumphant Return to the Apollo

by Raphael Chestang 3:18 PM PDT, October 23, 2015
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes of Gladys Knight's Triumphant Return to the Apollo

ET was with Gladys Knight as the Empress of Soul prepared to return to the Apollo Theater stage for her special concert on OWN, which was both a celebration and a mini reunion.

"It just takes me back," Knight told ET special correspondent Janet Mock. "It's more than just a place. It's history."

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The concert is a part of the Legends: OWN At the Apollo debut, airing Saturday, Oct. 24, at 10 p.m., and features some of Knight's famous friends, including fellow Motown legends Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick.

The theater itself is a big part of the show, as Knight played there in her teens and knows the building inside and out.

"We would just run these halls, and we did so much prankster stuff in here," Knight said. "We were upstairs -- we used to call it the crow's nest -- and if there was a brand-new artist that was on the show, we'd take chicken bones and drop them down on stage. They didn't know where those chicken bones were coming from, and we would be cracking up up there."

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It seems fitting that Knight would be doing such an historic show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The 71-year-old GRAMMY winner serenaded the media mogul on her 40th birthday.

"I was so nervous," Knight recalled. "We were all so very proud of her."

For the concert, taped earlier this year and airing this weekend, Knight brings out old tunes with inventive arrangements. As part of her draw has always been the experience felt in her husky voice, her years have only added to her sound.

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Wonder and Warwick were especially crowd pleasers when they marched out during the show for a version of "That's What Friends Are For," which all three singers originally appeared on in 1986 along with Elton John.

Watch the video for more.