Diana Ross is No.1 at Tanglewood

STOCKBRIDGE — No "deep cuts" during Wednesday night's Diana Ross show at Tanglewood. No rarities. No obscure tunes from a long forgotten album.

No, the audience at the show plunked down their hard-earned cash to hear the hits, and Ross, who has a bushel basket full, gladly obliged.

Ross made a triumphant return to Tanglewood on Wednesday, playing a 24-song, 110-minute set that had the crowd up for much of it. And while there was no encore, no one seemed to be too disappointed.

Hard to be. Ross opened the show with "I'm Coming Out," her signature opener since 1980, followed by a cover of Spiral Staircase's, "More Today Than Yesterday," the band's only hit, which reached No. 5 on the Cashbox 100 list in 1969.

Then, Ross was off to the races. "My World Is Empty (Without You)," "Baby Love," "Stop! In The Name of Love!""Come See About Me," "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Love Child." All songs she did as the lead singer for The Supremes. Except for "My World" (a puny No. 5 hit!), every one a No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts. That is pretty amazing.

Ross veered into her own solo catalog after that. "Touch Me in the Morning," "Upside Down," "Endless Love" and "Love Hangover," which were also No. 1 hits. Do we see a pattern here? I think we do.

It would be almost blasphemous to discuss a Ross show without cataloging her costume changes. She opened the show with a green-sequined evening gown with a huge green wrap for eight songs. As the band held the bridge in "Love Child," Ross slipped offstage and returned a few minutes later in a bright red gown. Eight songs after that, it was a slinky black number and for the last few songs, it was a silver sequined gown. All the outfits also had matching fans.

Your correspondent, whose fashion taste is in his mouth, admits to considerable inadequacy in detailing these gowns. They looked, ah, really nice.

The set and lighting, in contrast to the performer, were relatively basic. No spotlights, and the backdrop was a blank wall that changed colors every few songs. But that was in keeping with Ross' preference to keep the focus on the music, and obviously, her.

Ross also chose her covers well. In addition to the aforementioned opener, she delivered a slinky version of Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," as well as "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" by Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers.

The set closed with one of Ross' more popular live songs, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and an extended version of Gloria Gaynor's 1979 No. 1, Grammy winner, "I Will Survive."

Reach staff writer Derek Gentile at 413-770-6977


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