Last night at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, I got to be in the presence of the amazing, legendary Diana Ross. Ross, named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful female music artist in history, kicked off this stop on her In the Name of Love tour with 1980’s hit “I’m Coming Out” and what a “coming out” it was. The night was filled with her unbelievably high energy, a fantastic medley of her many hits as a solo artist and as a part the Supremes. Not only was this show a treat for the ears, but it was a treat for the eyes too as Ross changed into a collection of beautiful dresses made of miles and miles of tulle and sequins.
The night was a “family affair” as it was kicked off by Diana Ross’ daughter, Rhonda Ross, an amazingly talented singer-songwriter in her own right. Rhonda’s style is neo-soul jazz interwoven with what resembles spoken word poetry. Rhonda’s performance of songs such as the “Drumbeat of Life” and the upbeat “Summer Day” resonates with belief in the power of music. In the intro to “Breathe” she said “The power of music reminds us that we are loved.” One of my favorites from the night, “Nobody’s Business” is a powerful reminder that “your joy comes from inside and its nobody else’s job to make you happy.”
Once Diana Ross takes the stage, that warm, fuzzy, communal feeling that Rhonda started is continued by her mom. It seemed more like an intimate evening of great music between friends, rather than the packed to the brim house it actually was. The next hour or so are packed with Ross’s many hits including “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Take Me Higher,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Each song in the 22-song set had me on my feet dancing and singing along. With so many hits, it is easy to see why she has the title of the most successful female artist in history. The cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” had me, along with almost every other audience member up on our feet, singing and dancing to the ultimate girl power song.
Ross’s voice is as beautiful as it ever was, although its deeper and more mature than her early days with the Supremes. Because of this, some of that effervescent bubbliness is missing for songs like “Baby, Love” but that voice is stunning when signing songs like “Don’t Explain” from Lady Sings the Blues and “Love Child.” The sultriness of her voice is spine tingling in songs like “Look of Love” and “Love Hangover.”
As I was milling about the crowd before the show, I heard many comments about how “excited” people were to be seeing their idol in concert. I heard many stories of what her songs meant to them. It is easy to see why the audience adored her as you watch her throw every ounce of her timeless beauty and endless energy into the performance. You could tell that she was definitely enjoying herself from the huge beaming smile she had on her face the entire night. One of my favorite moments of the night was when she came out for the encore, and as she was telling the audience about how great the energy was and her gratitude for all the support she has gotten, she began to tear up. She made each person in the audience feel special.
When you think about the fact that she is 70 years old this year, her beautiful voice, her energy, and how beautiful she is, you can only say one word. In the words of the couple sitting behind me…“Amazing.”
Diana Ross played one night only on June 29, 2014 at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information: Call (877) 965-3872, or check their calendar of events.