Motown legend Diana Ross reigns supreme at the Hard Rock
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
2/05/13 at 9:57 PM
Watch a slideshow of pictures from the concert.
It was a night of transcendental soul as the queen of soul and disco held church at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Diana Ross was svelte in a body-hugging, deep-V-neck gown of scarlet sequins. The first words of her first song Tuesday night, “I’m Coming Out,” brought out her dozen-member backing band and launched fans to their feet.
Without a pause, Ross followed with a Spiral Starecase cover, “More Today Than Yesterday.”
“This takes me back to the good old days! To Motown!” she yelled as she quickly moved into “You Can’t Hurry Love” with a chorus of horns and backing singers stepping in time with “Oooh-ooohs.” Some songs were shortened, in a near-medley style that rumbled with a crescendo of energy from both Ross and the capacity crowd.
The eclectic and friendly concertgoers warmed the venue with soft chatter before the show started. Some remembered Ross’ earliest days; many remember her disco era. All were there to share music and memories with one of the most influential and unforgettable women of any era.
Her songs included the soulful “Touch Me in the Morning,” and she swayed into her megahits with her ethereal soprano, wide open like pearly gates. “Love Child” was effervescent with bright brass and the same racy angst and passion the hit held in 1968.
Ross played solo hits and songs from her earliest days with Motown legend the Supremes. It’s not polite to tell a woman’s age, but it must be noted that at 68, Ross’ talent and diversity are who she is. They define her. Elements of soul, pop, Latin, jazz, disco, pop — it’s all there.
Then there was the wardrobe change into a silver-white glitter and taffeta dress that defined disco class. “Upside Down” left every seat empty as Ross egged on dancers and a theater sing-along — and a standing ovation.
She sang “It’s My House,” and, boy, was it. She’d reach up to her face and pull her hair aside as she somehow managed to sing, woo her fans, wave, pose for pictures, talk to fans and call them to her stage. It all was seamless, immaculate.
Decked in bedazzled jeans and T’s as well as sequins, broad hats, sharp suits and furs, the whole audience smiled, and all who were physically capable were on their feet, dancing and singing.
From there it was “Love Hangover,” “Take Me Higher,” “Ease on Down the Road,” and another costume change into velvet black as she eased into the Billie Holiday hit “Don’t Explain.”
The audience had difficulty slowing with her but soon was wooed by a baritone saxophone solo that halted all chatter in mid-thought.
The mood soon lifted with Ross’ version of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and another wardrobe change. This time she wore a smart, sunny marigold gown and sang “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
She owned Gloria Gaynor’s hit “I Will Survive” with an extended jam as 2,700 fans reached its frenzied, hand-clapping, hip-swinging climax.
Last year, Ross won a lifetime achievement award from the Grammy Foundation.
Tuesday night’s concert was a priceless time capsule, gilded and lacy with patina and very possibly the most important, filigreed part of the American songbook — because it’s by Diana Ross, a woman who’s made it her way, for decades, in a man’s world.
Red sequins set the tone for Diana Ross' high-energy performance at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Tuesday evening. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World