February 17th, 2015
DIANA ROSS at the RYMAN, Nashville TN –
Can she really be seventy years young ? Seventy is the new thirty five, or so it seemed watching Diana Ross perform recently at the Ryman Auditorium. She still has the glitz and the glamor and moves effortlessly, in her sexy, colorful, sparkly, flamboyant outfits.
The Show opened dramatically with flashing disco style lighting and a view of the orchestra. Striding across the stage, to tumultuous applause, microphone in hand belting out” I’m Coming Out” , Miss Ross is one of the few performers who can wear an outer garment reminiscent of the Michelin tyre man, made up of three bolts of tulle, and then nonchalantly toss it on the floor exposing a sexy body, in a sleek shimmering shift, with more tassels. beads and decoration than a Las Vegas Showgirl. This is the essential Diana – no one sings like her and no one can carry a costume like she does. She was performing at the Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music” with perfect acoustics to a stand up audience.
Her voice is still powerful and emotional and she was accompanied by an exceptional eleven piece orchestra and three backup singers, each one being given a solo segment during the concert. We were entertained for an hour and a half and the only time she left the stage was for four quick costume changes, each costume more outrageous than the one before. There was no dialogue, no self pity, no talk of age and no sips of water or needing to sit down, pure entertainment from start to finish. Starting with her Motown hits, the audience went wild, as she moved through her repertoire of easily recognizable songs. Most of the time everyone was standing, clapping, dancing in the aisles.
How appropriate that this performance was in a “Church” that had once upon a time been used for Revival Services – this was a revival of a different sort, one to uplift and revive the spirits. If Reverend Jones and Captain Ryman were looking on that night, I feel sure they would have been proud of this Event and seeing the full attendance and longevity of “The Tabernacle” they opened in 1891.
These were familiar songs with familiar words, “Baby Love”, “Why do fools fall in love”, “Ain’t no mountain high enough”, “Reach out and touch someone”, and on and on. We were indulged with the songs from “Lady Sings the Blues” and it is apparent Diana Ross is in great voice, enjoying every moment and not singing the blues. What a treat to be entertained by a performer of this caliber in such a unique setting. The audience did not want her to leave but eventually after giving generous encores even the thunderous applause did not bring her back. Diana Ross has lived life to the full, with all its ups and downs and she is a survivor. This was a demonstration that some things get better with age and we love her now more than ever.