Diana Ross Rocked Sac: A Concert “Review
In the spirit of full and total disclosure, this is far from an objective review of last weekend’s Diana Ross concert in Sacramento, a stop in her modestly named Music Legacy Tour. Combining her solo hits with those as front woman of The Supremes, Ross has more #1 hits than any solo artist other than Mariah Carey, so her musical legacy can’t be denied.
At the risk of eliciting the memory of another siren, I’ve been hopelessly devoted to Ross since I was 13 years old, when she blew my mind in The Wiz. That’s right: very little makeup, no weave, and I was smitten. I have photographs of Ross, including one with me from 2007, framed and hanging in three rooms of my house.
No, not in the bedroom. That would just be…weird. Ross and I aren’t married. Yet.
I’m told superstar Janet Jackson opened for Ross in northern California last weekend, and I’m told she gave a great show. At the risk of raising the hackles of Jackson’s other fans (and I am unabashedly one), Janet should stay on her side of the velvet rope when Diana’s in town.
I decided to take a pause in my listening to Ross’s music to tell you about her concert last weekend.
Ross opened her sold-out show at the Hard Rock in Sacramento (well, Fire Mountain. Or Wheatland, or wherever the heck it is) with a video montage before taking the stage to the obligatory “I’m Coming Out,” an appropriate tune for a Pride month performance, and one she’s trotted out for over four decades. I couldn’t care less how many times she opens concerts with it: it’s a rouser, and got the multigenerational, multiethnic crowd on our feet and dancing. It was a great feeling, and one of my first since the pandemic paused live performances a few years ago.
Speaking of COVID, while most of us were baking banana bread and counting the pounds we packed on, Ross used her down time to record the inspirational, Grammy-nominated album, Thank You. She performed three songs from that sterling collection Saturday night, “Tomorrow,” “If The World Just Danced,” and the title track. Other surprises included her last Top 10 hit, 1985’s Lionel Richie-penned “Missing You,” and “He Lives In You” from her highly underrated 1999 album, Every Day Is A New Day.
Ross also sang “Don’t Explain,” a standout from her Golden Globe-winning, Academy Award-nominated turn as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings The Blues. The performance was exquisite. When she sang a verse to me — yes, to me. No one else was in the room — and crooned the lyrics
You know that I love you / And what love endures / All my thoughts are of you / For I’m so completely yours…
…I almost blacked out. The 79-year-old Ross sounds amazing, pitch perfect and crystal clear. She seemed to hit most of her notes effortlessly, while leaving a handful of them, like the very top of those soaring, beloved adlibs from 1979’s “The Boss,” to her background singers.
That’s what a diva does: you have your staff pick up the slack.
But it wasn’t all about surprises. Ross is giving her throng what we want to hear, delivering “Upside Down,” “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” and “It’s My House,” along with a succession of Supremes classics that opened the show.
Allow me, please, to address the elephant in the room: yes, Ross treated us to multiple costume changes, each more fabulous than the rest. She looks approximately half of her age. I want some of whatever she’s eating and drinking.
The music world has suffered a few major loses over the last few years. We’ve had to say goodbye to several of Ross’ contemporaries, including Aretha Franklin, the Queen Of Soul. Just last month, the Queen of Rock & Roll, Tina Turner, left this earth.
But for today, we still have Diana Ross, the Queen of Motown.
Oh, hell, I told you this wasn’t an objective review:
Diana Ross is the Queen of EVERYTHING! She’s MY everything! If you can, catch her out on the road this summer.
Now let me get back to my Ross music:
You are everything
And everything is you
Sing to me, baby girl. After all, it’s just you and me here, together.
Check out details of Diana Ross’s Music Legacy Tour at dianaross.com.
Connect with freelance writer, audio / visual host & producer, and Diana Ross’ next husband Michael P Coleman at MichaelPColeman.com.