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Review: Diana Ross gives 'Supreme' performance in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Superstar Diana Ross knew her Baby Boomer crowd at the Clay Center Wednesday.

She belted out a string of Motown hits, didn't encourage the packed audience to stand until the final numbers and had the show wrapped up by their bedtimes.

What a class act!

The 69-year-old singer was idolized by many in the audience when they were teenagers and the Supremes were at the top of the charts. For those of us who never saw her perform live in her 50-year career, she delivered the illusion of a glamorous Las Vegas act.

She wore sleek, shimmering gowns of hot pink, lime green and melon that sparkled as did the colorful stage setting.

Ross performed straight for about an hour, starting with Motown favorites like "Baby Love," "Stop, In the Name of Love," "You Can't Hurry Love," and "Love Child." 

The show kicked into high gear with "Upside Down," "Take Me Higher," and "Ease On Down the Road."

She moved into some jazz and blues numbers from "Lady Sings the Blues," which I enjoyed the most. In those numbers, with the nine-piece band and three backup singers more subdued, her still fine voice was the star. 

Ross sang a couple of songs from her film "Mahogany," then rousted the audience on its feet, waving their arms "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "I Will Survive."

At the conclusion, she stayed off stage long enough that it seemed doubtful there would be an encore. But it was just another outfit change, this time into comfortable leggings and Uggs.

As she sang "Reach Out and Touch Somebody," Ross strolled along the front of the stage, reaching down and touching the hands of people gathered in front.

During the show, Ross seemed to be having as good a time as the audience. The auditorium lights were raised often, she explained, "Because it makes me happy to see you smile."

There was no intermission, and the only time Ross left the stage was to make wardrobe changes. That gave the band, especially the four-piece brass section, a chance to shine.

It seems incredible that Ross only won her first Grammy in 2012 and that was for Lifetime Achievement. Sales of her albums, with the Supremes and solo, have topped more than 100 million. She has had 70 hit singles, including 28 number ones.  

With those numbers, Ross is the definition of a living legend.

Reach Rosalie Earle@earle@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.

 


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