Saturday, April 07, 2007

Diana Ross at Madison Square Garden

C. got tickets so that we could go see Diana Ross perform live at the Madison Square Garden Theater last night. This was the first time I'd ever seen her perform live. It goes without saying that Ross, who was celebrating her birthday, gave an excellent performance. She sang for about an hour and a half, changed costumes five times, danced, did a little bit of talking, expressed her love for her fans repeatedly, and performed songs from nearly every period of her career, touching upon most of the best known ones, like "Baby Love," "I'm Coming Out," "Do You Know (The Theme from Mahogany)," "Upside Down" (during which she gave a shout out to Nile Rodgers, who was in the audience), and many others. One of the best moments was when she performed a few songs from Lady Sings the Blues. She handled these pieces superbly, and it made me want to hear her in a more intimate cabaret or café-style setting. (A fan of hers that we chatted with on the PATH ride home told us that her long-buried but now released Blue Album featured fine performances of Jazz standards.) Perhaps the only weak spot was the newest song she sang, "I Love You," which concluded the show and was both too simplistic and too saccharine; perhaps if she'd slotted it in amidst everything else it wouldn't have stood out so, but she ended the concert with it. Overall, however, she was incandescent, and her voice--!!! As for the photos, well, we thought cameras weren't really allowed, and so had only a very handy (and potentially confiscatable) model, but it turns out that fellow concertgoers had no qualms about bringing movie quality equipment in, which seemed to only intermittently rouse the ushers to issue warnings. I tried to steady my hand as best I could, and Ms. Ross is clearly visible, but....

Update: Here's Stephen Holden's NY Times take on the concert. He wasn't as sold on Diana Ross's voice as I was, and agreed with the fan who yelled out that she looked "35"--I'd say 45 and a few days, but so what? She looked great and sang well too.

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