Last updated on February 15th, 2016 at 10:25 am
Last Wednesday night, February 4, was a treat. The legendary Diana Ross officially “came out” to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Prompt, as always, the 70-year old Diva wasted no time. She got right to it, coming out with a BANG! The 80-minute show proceeded at a frenetic pace, with the star barreling from one number to the next. It wasn’t until late in the evening that she acknowledged her surroundings, marveling at the sold-out audience and the wonderful atmosphere, and commenting, “I feel like a queen.” Who wouldn’t feel like a queen with the attire she was rocking? There were, needless to say, numerous costume changes–five in all. Of course this singer looked resplendent in a series of glittery gowns. This star’s glamour was undeniable.
Sounding in fine tune, Ross’s nine-piece band and a trio of backing vocalists stood before an exuberant audience. Her accompanied gang performed the same reliable, hits-laden show that she’s delivered for years. Hit after hit followed, beginning with a string of Supremes songs that established the nostalgic mood. She performed a healthy selection of her solo hits, as well as covers by the likes of Dusty Springfield (“The Look of Love”) and Billie Holiday (“Don’t Explain,” from Lady Sings the Blues).
During her legendary career, Ms. Ross frequently compiled several hits on the Billboard Hot 100. With the Supremes, Ross tallied 12 leaders on the Motown label from 1964-1969. The former Supremes leader segued into Supremes hit medleys “Come See About Me,” “Baby Love,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” followed by her solo hit “Touch Me in the Morning” before a shift back to the Supremes’ late ‘60s hit “Love Child.” That got the crowd up and dancing. Giving instructions to turn the house lights up, as she did several times throughout the night, she encouraged the audience to sing along.
Ross sashayed her way through such hits as “The Boss” and “Upside Down,” as well as a truncated version of “Love Hangover” paired with 1995’s “Take Me Higher.” “I’m Coming Out” soared into the array of lights as Ross supported the drummer and percussionist. Of course she sang “More Today Than Yesterday” and “My World Is Empty Without You.” The sounds were terrific. “I just love Diana,” mentioned an older Caucasian lady.
Ross was in fine voice all evening. She most definitely hit em with her six solo Hot 100 No. 1s (“Touch,” “Mountain,” “Hangover,” “Upside Down” and “Mahogany”). The last one “Endless Love” didn’t feature a surprise guest like Lionel Richie to reprise, but one of her male back-up singers did the job. However, Ross left fans wondering why she didn’t do a longer set.
It was all too short–but still sweet. With fans screaming “one more”, a final costume change signaled the final song, a spirited version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Ross sang out a final goodbye and the diva was gone. The overall performance may have seemed relatively short, but sailing aboard a raft of songs, the pop icon really has no choice but to implement a time restraint. There are, to put it simply, too many hits. One thing’s for sure; Diana Ross still knows how to keep fans wanting more, while also reminding them that she originally put the D in diva.