“I’m Coming….Out!” The words echoed off stage as her background singers gave the audience a medley of her songs. And then Diana Ross appeared; greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. The legendary singer, Kennedy Center Honoree and most recently, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, was dressed regally in one of her many captivating outfits of the evening.
NSO Pops: Diana Ross: ALL the Best of Times was performed with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Emil de Cou at the Kennedy Center, December 1-3 to a sold-out crowd each night. The show was filled with many of the hits from her extensive catalogue.
At age 72, Ms. Ross gave no indication of her years, but instead with her energetic, high-octane performance proved why she remains one of the most iconic figures in pop and music history. This was no ordinary concert. It was jubilant and celebratory with the audience standing to their feet much of time, swaying back and forth, clapping and seeming to be lost in the sheer grandeur of being in the presence of the larger-than-life star. Some even took to the aisles and danced. It was a like a party with an old friend as Ms. Ross encouraged the audience to sing along. After all, they seemed to know all the words.
Not forgetting her roots, the show included “You Can’t Hurry Love” from her days with the Supremes. The rest of the night was dedicated to her many hits including the mesmerizing “Love Hangover” backed magnificently by strings. Other highlights of the evening included a moving rendition of “Touch Me in the Morning” and the euphoric “Ease on Down the Road” from the movie, The Wiz.
The singer expressed her gratitude to the audience, her singers, the orchestra and to Joyce Garrett who convened the 25-voice choir that backed her up. Ms. Ross also remarked that “this life is a gift.” After that remark she sang “The Best Years of My Life,” which seemed to sum up all she has accomplished over the past five decades, but also was reflective of the life she’s living now.
The night concluded with Ms. Ross singing her classic hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” And just when it seemed like this fabulous night was over, she returned to sing “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand.” It seemed a fitting end to a night filled with nostalgia, ebullience and love fest between Ms. Ross and her fans.