Greg’s Concert Review: Diana Ross still ageless wonder but seemed aloof from audience for most of Nokia show
Diana Ross brought her More Today Than Yesterday tour to the Nokia Theatre in LA this week and I was among those in the crowd.
If the great Motown diva didn’t sell the place out, she came close because the place was packed. Pretty amazing for a 66-year-old star whose last major hit single was in the mid-80s.
People have asked me this week if Miss Ross still has her voice. Trust me, she is no Whitney Houston. Diana Ross sounds just about as good as she ever did whether she is singing 60s hits with the Supremes, Billie Holliday songs, or her hit ballads Endless Love, Touch Me in the Morning and Theme From Mahogany.
This tour is dedicated to the late Michael Jackson to whom Diana had once been quite close and the most moving – well, really the only moving – moment of the evening was when she spoke of Michael and told the audience that his three children were in the audience.
She then launched into her 1985 hit Missing You which was originally dedicated to Marvin Gaye. It seemed even more fitting for Michael. With Michael’s photo beamed from the screen, she sang his sweet hit You Are Not Alone and did it so well you wish she would record it.
Here is video of that part of the concert:
The dedication – she also introduced Motown founder Berry Gordy to the audience – came near the end of the show and it was the first time Miss Ross really addressed the audience. I found it off-putting that she did not make more of an attempt to connect to us more the way she did two years ago at Hollywood Bowl.
I’m sure the fact that she was determined to get through as many hits as possible left less time for gab. She opened with the 70s dance classic The Boss followed by her remake of More Today Than Yesterday from the 2008 album I Love You.
Then it was time for a handful of Supremes songs starting with Reflections. What was great about that number was the videos and photos shown on the screen throughout of Diana, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard.
It brought back memories of simpler times and is a reminder that even though the end of was sad with Flo’s early exit from the group and death as well as Mary’s scathing books, these three friends from Detroit accomplished so much together including other hits performed by Diana Wednesday night: You Can’t Hurry Love, Love Child, and Stop! In the Name of Love.
While Diana sang those numbers in their entirety and then some to those songs as well as Why Do Fools Fall in Love, she gave short-shrift to Love Hangover the 1980 hits I’m Coming Out and Upside Down merging them into one quick number. She also has omitted the wonderful Chain Reaction from her current show as well as her beautiful ballad It’s My Turn.
Click on people’s faces in the photo to tag them.
I’d have preferred to have heard those rather than It’s My House or her remake of I Will Survive. But those are small quibbles because the fact is, she delivered most of what we wanted to hear and delivered it well.
I do have to quibble with the use of the screens on each side of the stage though. Instead of providing us with any kind of close-ups or different angles than what we could see on the stage, the image on the screen was identical to what was happening on stage with Diana the size of an ant to those of us not up real close.
Anyway, no matter how small Diana was, you could not miss her dazzling collecti0n of eye-popping gowns. She changes in and out of them faster than she used to because she was barely absent from the stage during the less than two hour show.
Diana, who I hope records another album really soon, ended well with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and the perfect encore: Reach Out and Touch.
The woman has still got it!