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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.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_qtzEjdadQQI/SedeVcxNKEI/AAAAAAAAAtk/KissfvwAOLY/s400/Supremes.jpgThen 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.

Ross

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!

Diana

FILE UNDER: Greg's Reviews

Comments

(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

24 Remarks

  1. June 12th, 2010 at 11:03 am
    Jeff Buford says:

    I spoke to an usher regarding the videos screen not being utilized with close ups of Miss Ross and the stage. I was told that Diana did not want closeups due to videos of the shows being posted on You Tube and other sites. I was a little PO’d because while I had decent seats, I would have loved to see her up close on the monitors.

  2. Greg.

    Diana DID record You Are Not Alone, quite awhile ago… I agree, would have liked to hear It’s my turn.

  3. Greg,

    I agree that her interaction with fans was lacking but you hit it on the nail when you commented it was because she was trying to sing as many songs as she could, and that’s what she was focusing on. However, you may be unaware that Diana did record ‘You Are Not Alone’ on one her albums, ‘The Greatest’ a limited edition cd that was released overseas in 1998. It was one of three new tracks she recorded for this release. It never got released in the States, which was unfortunate because her version of ‘You Are Not Alone’ is gorgeous and hit-worthy. Also the side screen was just an extra bonus that I’m sure the facility provided. At her other concerts, she only uses the screen on the stage. But I love your review and was pretty much spot on except for the two I mentioned above.

  4. June 12th, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    Charles Anteby says:

    Greg.
    Diana did record “You Are Not Alone” in 1996 and is on an import album called “Voice of Love.” I own it.

    You obviously haven’t seen her perform too many times. I have seen her over 40 times since 1964. She didn’t give ‘short-shrift’ to “Love Hangover.” She always uses that song to change because there’s a lot of music in it. This time, for the first time, she creatively added “Take Me Higher” to “Love Hangover.” Diana followers LOVED it.
    You quibble with the screens on the side, but you don’t mention the fabulous screen behind her, which was very new and updated for her. We saw footage never before seen. Some of those images we’d seen as part of photo shoots, as stills, but never as video. Again, followers LOVED it.

    She sang “It’s So Hard For Me To Say Goodbye”, from the “Red Hot Rhythm and Blues” album – never sang that before.

    She never does “It’s My Turn.” Never.
    She has been opening the show with “I’m Coming Out” since the song was released in the late 70′s. It was refreshing for her to use it on her second entrance. She has tons of hits. We can’t have all of them at every show. This is the first time she didn’t do “Baby Love.” Wow. Very cool. In 1964 , the first time I saw the Supremes, all they did was “Baby Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go.”

    And what did you want her to talk to the audience about? She was there to sing. For the music. She’s had great years, great shows, and a couple of lazy shows. This one was so upbeat and energetic. She seems happy, at peace and in a great place. And that’s how I felt leaving the Nokia.

    Charles Anteby

  5. She has recorded You Are Not Alone. It is the type of song she does very very well.

  6. I saw her years ago and she was as aloof then as you describe her now, which is one of the reasons that was the first and last time I would pay to see her. And, to be fair, the real voice of that group never was hers, it was Flo Ballard, and, its a shame that Diane was put out front.

    I saw one of her old co-singers, Mary Wilson on a cruise a while back and, she was the same way, walking thorough the ship as if she was the Queen Bee, too bad the lessons about the fans they were taught at Motown didn’t sink in.

    Too bad so few of her generation don’t have a clue as to how to treat the fans, maybe she could take some lessons from say a Wayne Newton!

  7. All Diana needs to do is show- up and stand on the stage and it’s worth the ticket price. Aloof…HA!

    She is there to to sing.. which she does none stop…. not chitchat…….

    She could really teach many entertainers how to put on a show…

    Still after 5 decades of INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARDOM

    SHE still has …..IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Upside Down and Im Comin Out were played in their entireties. Love Hangover opened the uptempo medley that included Take Me Higher and Ease on Down the Road. And to poster Mike, your observation about Flo is not factual, and as to Miss Ross being personable during shows, I assume you weren’t at the shows when she was younger and used to come into the audience to sing, and talk directly to the audience throughout the show. Perhaps you were at a Wayne Newton show instead.

  9. leave miss ross alone you loser,she is a wonderful human being very loving but a very private person,as for flo ballard being a lead singer give me a break,all she ever was was a backing singer period,miss ross had the vocals that sold to the world,flo was a drunk loser,get over it.

  10. I agree with all the comments. However, Miss Ross has in the past included “Its My Turn” in her set list. In 2004 she sang this tune in Cupertino, CA. She omitted this song during her Patanges, Los Angeles appearance. It was really refreshing to hear this song and meaningful. It was her first tour after her problems in early 2000. Although, she doesn’t engage with her audiences i.e. walking into the crowd; she simply allows her songs to do the connecting with people…reading into the lyrics of each song. She is a very private person and she proved that with MJ tribute allowing the words in the songs to do the talking for her.

  11. June 14th, 2010 at 9:41 am
    Alan T in London says:

    Too right Diana Ross is no Whitney Houston. She’s a million times better that that washed up crackhead. Sure you’ve all seen the recent Whitney tour reviews with people walking out and demanding their money back? All the reviews for Diana’s current tour are glowing, and deservedly so. Hope it goes worldwide and a new album arrives soon.

    PS: ‘You Are Not Alone’ is on her 1996 ‘Voice of Love’ album on EMI UK.

  12. if it hadnt been for Diana ross no one would have heard of flo or the third rate mary wilson………… she was the supremes Mary wilson as lived a good life on the strength of Diana` voice and as for whitney housten did nobody hear about her concerts in europe sne couldnt even sing ….

  13. I just saw Diana Ross in Saratoga. It was the final show of her current tour and she did sing a lot of Supreme’s songs, but I felt short changed this night. No songs from Lady Sings The Blues. No Endless Love. No Michael Jackson tribute except for a brief encore for Reach Out and Touch. No screens, no videos and really no interaction with anybody but her band. I have been a Diana Ross fan for 40 years and I have to say this is the first time I feel cheated by her. In her defense, she sounded great and looked great, but come on for $111 she could have performed for more than just over an hour. And a comedian to open. Give me a break. I brought six friends and I feel like they were cheated too!

  14. Thanks to everyone for their comments and strong opinions. For the record, when I said Diana is no Whitney Houston, I meant that Diana has taken good care of her voice unlike Whitney who has tragically ruined hers. I’ve seen Miss Ross in concert five times dating back to 1989 and it really was the most detached I ever remember her being. I miss her going into the crowd for “Reach out and Touch” or ripping some dude’s shirt open on “Muscles.” Also, thanks to all who pointed out that Diana has recorded “We Are Not Alone.”

  15. June 14th, 2010 at 4:28 pm
    Vicky Lewis says:

    You are dead on the money Alan. Ross has always been sooooooooooooo much better than Houston, even when Houston had her “voice”. Houston was always as dull as a box of rocks. The late Luther Vandross always commented how good Ross’ voice sounded as supposed to her peers and newcomers) Houston). Ross is the tops and she proves it every time that she takes the stage!!!

  16. Wayne Newton? Is this guy nuts? This was my 40-th time seeing Miss Ross and I found the show to be one of her best. I could do without It’s My House Mirror Mirror and I will Survive, and rather have It’s My Turn My Man and Home from the Wiz. Bravo Diana

  17. June 14th, 2010 at 10:41 pm
    Charles (Chuck) Jones says:

    I saw Miss Ross for her closng night in Saratoga. Her voice was lovely. Her energy was contagious. She was upbeat, looked stunning…she hit notes…that..oh my gosh..such clarity…confidence..vigor…I’ve seen this heaven-sent, talented chanteuse now 12 times…and she still beguiles me….she always leaves me feeling so happy,…uplifted…she never lets me down..
    Thanks you Miss Ross..

  18. People let’s enjoy both of these women. Mary Wilson have turn into a great singer and she put on a fun show, This woman loves to sing and Well Miss Ross is one of the great and I love her. So please stop all this hate and enjoy both of these talented gifted women…Peace

  19. she recorded you are not alone a few years ago you can find it on a uk inport greatest hits album 3 new tracks hard to believe a reviewer when he does not do research

  20. You people kill me. First, she has done It’s My Turn in concert many times…check out YOUTUBE for proof. She actually opened her shows with that tune during the Swept Away Tour in the late 80′s. As for the comment that Flo was the voice of the Supremes…I’m not even sure how to respond. Obviously she was not, or the group would have been called Flo and The Supremes. While she may have had a stronger voice than Diana, it wasn’t fitting for that type of music or the overall vision the powers that be had for the group during that period. Finally, I think Diana is one of the personable artists out there. Few care enough to acutally venture into the audience. Hell, she tried to enter the audience area during her Central Park concert, which would have been a suicide mission. But, her love for the fans motivated her. Thank God security wouldn’t allow it. As usual, she’s misunderstood and viewed negatively, but there’s no denying that she has endured and still gives a full concert worthy of the ticket price.

  21. [...] Greg's Concert Review: Diana Ross still ageless wonder but seemed … Jun 12, 2010 … Greg's Concert Review: Diana Ross still ageless wonder but seemed aloof from audience for most of … [...]

  22. September 15th, 2011 at 8:03 am
    tony squitieri says:

    Saw Dian last year at Radio City. I hasve been a fan since 1964 and must say her voice was on the money. Years ago she interacted much more with the audience. In fact she called me onstage to dance with her to Upside Down in the 80′s. Like other fans, I felt shortchange by her lack of interaction with the audience. She is a great “67″

  23. The show was fantastic……….just want to comment on several things in this article and one that is not.

    Diana Ross is one of the GREATEST entertainers out there…she is a legend…she could have stuck in dancers……an overproduced set..even an opening act…but she is Diana and does not need that kind of filler…she gives her fans what they want…a show that is energized and non stop ..and that voice sounds as good as it was 50 years ago……..@mike….what a fool!

  24. Thanks to everyone for their comments and strong opinions. For the record, when I said Diana is no Whitney Houston, I meant that Diana has taken good care of her voice unlike Whitney who has tragically ruined hers. I’ve seen Miss Ross in concert five times dating back to 1989 and it really was the most detached I ever remember her being. I miss her going into the crowd for “Reach out and Touch” or ripping some dude’s shirt open on “Muscles.” Also, thanks to all who pointed out that Diana has recorded “We Are Not Alone.”

    Sorry Greg…I cannot see Diana in her sixties ripping off some mans shirt, nor do I see her going into crowds anymore….you people forget that in her younger years yes she was more accessible to her audience, but with all the violence now..it is neccessary for her to limit her access…..and just look at any newspapers about crazed fans…I one would rather have her safe…then not!

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