*Superstar Diana Ross knocked ‘em dead during her charismatic show – “More Today Than Yesterday” — at Radio City Music Hall in New York City’s Rockefeller Center on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, to a capacity crowd.
Ms. Ross returned with her signature tossed hair look, drop dead gorgeous gowns and a verve as buoyant as a kindergarten class. She was fun, fierce and fabulous!
Ross’ fans were out in full force and on fire and didn’t mind that she was 20 minutes late. What’s 20 minutes compared to years since their last Ross fix? And the wait was worth it as she delivered one of the greatest performances of my time. Her tardiness gave me a chance to reflect on her past and to realize that she’s a seamless performer. Everything comes together perfectly.
The iconic singer always delivers an effortless performance sans dancers and other distractions. The only thing on stage beside her band and singers was a dramatic light show and occasional backdrops of larger than life photographs (of her in several stages of her career). And the only work she does – without missing a beat — is getting off and on the stage for costume changes.
Okay, I admit. I’m a diehard fan. I go so far back with her that she’s a part of my DNA. And as I looked around at the well-heeled audience I noticed that I was not alone in my feelings. Many of her fans were Motown junkies who have a history with their favorite singer dating back to when she was a member of The Supremes; later renamed Diana Ross & The Supremes by music mogul Berry Gordy.
Great seats provided me with an unhindered view of Ross allowing me to check her out up close and personal. So when I say she was flawless, you know I know what I’m talking about. I was close enough to reach out and touch the supreme being.
Ross is more illuminating than ever and the only thing as radiant as her gowns was her sun-kissed skin. The mother of five and grandmother of 1 had put on a few pounds that revealed a curvaceous body that would put to shame any of her younger colleagues.
Armed with a live string and horn section and a trio of background singers who were on top of their game, Ross opened her show in a stunning pea green, floor length feathered coat over a black gown encrusted with sequins, singing a Motown medley consisting of “You Keep Me Hanging On” and a Latin infused “Love Child.”
Then she disappeared for her next change and reappeared singing “I’m Comin’ Out” wearing a spectacular red feathered coat with a matching red sequined dress that was thistight. The audience was pumped up to heaven.
After singing more favorites like “Upside Down” and “Mirror Mirror,” she disappeared again this time returning in a striking blue gown that set the tone for the jazz/blues part of the show performing songs from “Lady Sings The Blues.”
She did two more changes – pink ball gown with a red satin slip that she twirled all over the stage in while singing “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” and one of my favorite songs, “Endless Love.” Quicker than a Superman change in a phone booth, she disappeared and returned in an eye-popping gold shimmery gown with emerald green baubles singing more crowd favorites.
Her next change would be her last — a bronze slinky gown that brought the show to a close but not before she told the audience that she was dedicating her tour in memory of someone she loves very much, Michael Jackson – before breaking into “Missing You” in front of a life size photo of the two of them.
Ross then climbed up steps that brought her right in front of a backdrop photo of Jackson and sang his song, “You Are Not Alone.” Then with a quick turn to the audience she said, “If you need me, call me.” She then waved good-bye bringing the concert to an end.
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.