Last Night: Diana Ross At Verizon Wireless Theater

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Photos by Groovehouse
Diana Ross
Verizon Wireless Theater
March 1, 2011

See photos of the legendary Diana Ross in our slideshow.

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Blame it on David Bowie, but Aftermath couldn't help thinking that while settling into our balcony seat at Verizon Tuesday. Diana Ross and her deluxe band were pounding out "I'm Comin' Out" and "More Today Than Yesterday" one after the other, barely allowing the audience (or the saxophone players) to pause for breath. From the moment she descended the Hollywood-style staircase, they were on the clock.

A little earlier, we were reflecting that Tuesday would be our first time to ever see one of the real legends of Motown live, not to mention '60s soul in general. Aretha ain't doing so well these days, and we'll be in Austin when Gladys Knight is here (dammit). See you at the Arena, Smokey.

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As happy as we were that we could see Diana Ross, in the days leading up to the show we couldn't help but wonder if we really should. Why mess with a memory? Call it Chuck Berry syndrome. Those questions were laid to rest about halfway through "My World Is Empty Without You," the first in an extended string of hits by the "super-duper Supremes," as Ross put it.

Luckily, all those Supremes songs are designed for maximum impact in a minimum amount of time, punctuated by a couple of off-script hiccups - Ross exclaiming "Real horns!" after a tasty baritone solo in "Where Did Our Love Go?" and giggling in the middle of "Stop! In the Name of Love." Ross may not have the range she used to, but vocal acrobatics were never what she was about anyway, and Tuesday her voice fit her and the material like one of the five or six red-carpet gowns she twirled around in.

The band's professionalism was up top from the outset, all 12 of them - four horns, three backup singers, two drummers, keyboards, guitar and bass. It took Aftermath until much later in the set to realize how impeccably arranged these songs really are, down to the subtle call-and-response between the horns and backup vocalists, who had plenty of time to shine themselves during Ross' several wardrobe changes. (During which she kept singing, though... the lady is a pro.)

The Supremes mini-set crested with a samba interlude in "Love Child," which created a natural Cuban slide into the heavyweight Earth, Wind & Fire funk of "The Boss." So it went for the better part of an hour, through a lush "Love Hangover," smooth-jazz suite highlighted by the Anchorman flute of "Touch Me In the Morning," and spot-on Billie Holiday tribute of the Ellington-swinging "Fine and Mellow" and Harlem lullaby "Don't Explain."

Also, we hope the young lady (as in, like, 12) we saw dancing like a dervish to "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" downloads it from iTunes today. That's Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, dear.


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9 comments
Vmrdawg
Vmrdawg

P.S. Let me update myself, Billboard magazine just declared "Endless Love," as the biggest duet of all times. Ross recorded the theme song to The Land Before Time. "If We Hold On Together" it became an international hit reaching number-one in Japan.and lasting four years straight. Diana Ross music can not be measured like other artist. US vs the World. Diana Ross music cross all colored lines, crosses all international lines. When Diana Ross gets a number one in this country or that country it does not matter. Its a number one song for Diana Ross and her fans. So her last number one song is her most recent number one hit song.

Vmrdawg
Vmrdawg

Well! Ms Diana Ross last top ten in the USA/UK according to Billboard magazine is 'Not Over You Yet," hitting number 9 on the UK charts. Diana Ross last US hit was "Missing You," but Billboard has updated that in 2011. Diana Ross last top 10 is "Take Me Higher" and "I Will Survive." All of whom became number ones on the dance charts in 1995 and 1996. Diana Ross last top 40 album is her current album, " I Love You.'

Tod
Tod

My Diana Dreams all came true! A High Energy Non-Stop Performance... Wow! The connection with her audience is truly remarkable too - And then there are those Gorgeous Mackie Gowns... Red, Platinum, Cobalt, Gold, & my favorite - A huge pink silk ballgown for Mahogany! Diana is a legend & a superstar, yet she still seeks the adoration of her fans, & that's what keeps her so young & sexy too! Great Images Groovehouse!

HaywardM
HaywardM

Chain Reaction (song)Single by Diana Rossfrom the album Eaten AliveReleasedOctober 25, 1985 (US)February 13, 1986 (UK)Recorded1985LabelRCA Records, Capitol in the UKWriter(s)Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice GibbProducerAlbhy GalutenBarry GibbKarl Richardson"Chain Reaction" is a song by Diana Ross, written by the Bee Gees, who also provided the backing vocals for the single. The track was released on the album Eaten Alive in 1985 and as a single in 1986.The single became her first #1 single in the UK since I'm Still Waiting in 1971. The song also reached #1 in Australia and was the top selling single of the year (1986) in that country. In New-Zealand, it peaked at #3.

Kac
Kac

She was fantastic!!!! That's a BP in the photos snappin' some of those photos (and video...shh, don't tell!). She waved and smiled at me. Thanks, husband, for those great seats. Right in front, baby. And I love her too...since I was 7; a long time, but a lady never tells her age. :) Saw her in NYC last May, that was absolutely superb!!! See her before she retires folks. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Word!

Feldman
Feldman

The only version of "My World Is Empty Without You" I know is by Lee Fields & The Expressions and the Diana Ross version was just as amazing as the Lee Fields version.

She looked and sounded great. What a show!

Blkbrookatl
Blkbrookatl

Diana Ross with the Supremes did My World is Empty without you in 1965..it was a No.5 on Pop charts.

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