Diana Ross did not miss a beat or a note – or waste a single moment when she took the stage for her Songbook Tour at the Fox Thursday night. The showtime on the ticket read 8 p.m. By 8:01 p.m. Diana Ross had already hit the stage and was into the first lines of “I’m Coming Out.”
By 9:20 the packed house was filing out the door. She had given a crowd pleasing show executed to military precision – managing to squeeze five wardrobe changes and nearly 20 songs in roughly 70 minutes. And miraculously did so without the audience feeling cheated, or that the performance was a rush job run through of her greatest hits.
She looked as glamorous as always. She sounded great. With the exception of “Muscle,” I Hear A Symphony,” “Missing You,” “Endless Love,” “Good Morning Heartache,” “Where Did Our Love Go” and a few additional hits from The Supremes, she gave the crowd everything they were looking for.
There was very little talking from Ross, except for her to tell fans that she just turned 75 as she thanked them for their support over the years. She also requested that security go easy on the audience members who had to be repeatedly ushered to their seats after attempts of getting as close to the stage as they could.
“Don’t bully my audience,” Ross said towards the end of the show. “This is a good audience. I always have wonderful audiences.”
She then asked her devoted fans to be mindful of keeping the aisles clear for the sake of fire codes, before going into her final number and encore.
The crowd was beside itself with delight. Fans of all ages and ethnicities were on their feet for most of the show. “I should see some seat dancing right about now,” Ross said midway through the show. She didn’t have to ask twice.
Ross was in top form as she reminded everyone exactly how she managed to set herself apart from Motown’s endless pool of talent and become Berry Gordy’s muse.
Her energy and charm, coupled with the pure showmanship is how she rightfully earned diva status. She connects with a crowd in a way that has to be seen to be believed – which granted her a seat at the table among the vocal powerhouses of popular music and R&B.
Through selections such as “Stop in the Name of Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Can’t Hurry Love,” and “Love Child,” she paid tribute to the group that made her a household name.
“Love Child” featured a salsa interlude for which Ross channeled Celia Cruz as she two stepped across the stage after introducing her third ball gown to the crowd.
The party continued with “Ease On Down The Road,” “Upside Down,” Love Hangover,” and “Higher.”
She showcased her vocal charisma through a few covers.
Jazz standard “The Look of Love” and Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain” from her Academy Award nominated performance of “Lady Sings the Blues,” slowed things down. The party picked back up for “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.” But “Theme From Mahogany” followed by “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” offered another mellow moment for the show before Ross served up her version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Wil Survive” as the evening’s finale.
After an ovation that more than likely would still be underway had Ross and her band not returned to the stage, she brought her final wardrobe change and words of inspiration along with her encore.
In a delightful cobalt blue strapless gown – which preceded the beige, red, magenta and turquoise – she instructed the audience to display their cellphone lights to illuminate the Fox, and to set their intentions.
“We are powerful together,” Ross said. “We can make the world a better place.”
She then directed them as a choir in a verse of “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand.”
“I love you so much,” Ross said.
The crowd shouted the same words back to her.
“I love being with you. I love singing for you,” Ross said before closing out the song with one final verse.