Sunday, September 15, 2013
Concert review: Diva Diana Ross “did her thing” in Dallas
Each sequined dress seemed glitzier than the last: fuchsia, royal blue, salmon, black; and let’s not forget the lime-green floor-length boa robe.
Diana Ross lived up to the playbill and provided a Night to Remember on Friday at the Winspear Opera House.
The benefit show for CitySquare began with the nonprofit’s president and CEO, Larry James, speaking of the organization’s mission to “address poverty in a real way” by tackling hunger, health, housing and hope.
The excited, chatty crowd could barely keep still through the introduction by equally excited co-chairmen Scott Collier and Ross Miller, who said CitySquare’s celebration of its 25th year called for a dazzling star.
Ross is exactly that; she is who you think she is. Ross, who has her own 25th anniversary this year — of her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Supremes — stepped onto the stage in a flurry of sequins and hair to a Texas-size welcome. Naturally, she began with an exuberant “I’m Coming Out.”
Asking, “Remember this?” she followed quickly with “My World Is Empty Without You” (1965). It’s remarkable that lyrics clearly written for a younger singer — everything is dire when you’re a teenager — just gain heft in the 69-year-old Ross’ hands. It’s a testament to legendary Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland and the singer’s interpretive abilities, especially as her voice has grown richer in tone.
There was no time to dwell, though. She was already into her fourth song, “Baby Love,” less than 10 minutes later when the singing and dancing fans stopped long enough to applaud. They knew what was coming.
As the band launched into an extended instrumental of “Stop (In the Name of Love),” it was time for the first costume change. The dress changes are a highlight for many — even the singer, as evidenced by her sly smile every time she ducked off the stage. Each quick change, heralded by the band and backup singers extending whatever hit she happened to be on at the time, drew more applause.
One half-expected the venue’s famed chandelier to drop back down and transform into a mirror ball.
This crowd came to party. Fans in a couple of the boxes may still be dancing. And the energy kept coming in waves, all the way through the perennial set-ender “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).” Ross said the song was “what this evening was all about.” The crowd concurred. Venue-wide, neighbors held hands and linked arms, and the swaying and singing continued until the lights came up.
Less than 80 minutes in, it was done. Ross left the crowd wanting more (“I Hear a Symphony” and, yes, “Endless Love”) yet somehow satisfied.
One could only agree with the patron who exclaimed, “Honey, the diva did her thing tonight.”
Follow Dawn M. Burkes on Twitter at @DawnBurkes.