The legendary diva enthrals her fans at a private dinner show.
HAIL to the supreme Diana Ross! At 66, the legendary Motown queen – in her three-inch heels and forever big hair – could still pack a punch.
For soul fanatics, seeing Ross in action at the 10th anniversary gala dinner concert for members of Enrich, MAS’ loyalty programme, held at the KL Hilton ballroom last Saturday, was the ultimate delight.
When she sang the instantly recognisable chorus of Reflections, one of her big hits with the 1960s super girl group The Supremes, Ross set the disco party mood for the night.
“We’re gonna go back to the good old days,” said the pop diva. “Do you remember The Supremes?”
Well, who wouldn’t? If you’re in your 40s and 50s – as most of those present in the ballroom appeared to be – and love music, you would know that The Supremes, at a time, could rival the Beatles in terms of red-hot commercial appeal.
Truly, Ross is the supreme Supreme. After five decades, her soprano voice is still pitch-perfect. Usually, “soul” implies exultation and effort, but Ross rarely engages in either concept.
Her delivery oozed sensuality; it flitted between sleaze and innocence. It also contained moments of spontaneity, even telling the stories of Motown and The Supremes in song.
She commanded the stage, built as a Winter Wonderland and costing six digits. Her retro style is groovy and sexy, yet classy.
When she did a “peek-a-boo” in her low-cut sequined dress, Ross could seriously rival veteran actress Helen Mirren (who is said to have the best boobs for a 60something in Hollywood) in the perky breasts department.
Now back to the music. The introduction of Baby Love disappeared beneath a roar of bliss. Ross smiled, settled down and sang the best line in the song, “ Oh baby love, my baby love, I need you, oh how I need you, but all you do is treat me bad.”
Yeah baby! The following Stop! In The Name Of Love got everyone jiggy at the dinner table.
“Are you too young to remember this song?” she cooed.
No, they’re not. “ Stop, in the name of love, before you break my heart, think it over,” the 700 people chorused.
Ross was helped by the versatili- ty of her band, as evidenced by a crisp reworking of Upside Down and the rest of her playlist which read like the Motown archive.
The arrangements were topnotch, without sounding like dinner show knock-offs. Love Hangover sounded fantastic, and at its close there was barely a hammering heartbeat’s pause before she moved on to Take Me Higher.
The pace was brought down a notch with her gorgeous ballads, Touch Me In The Morning and Endless Love, which got even old married couples snuggling up to each other.
“You’re a beautiful audience,” Ross sang her praises.
A blast of the past continued with Why Do Fools Fall In Love? and Do You Know Where You’re Going To? But it was her powerful rendition of her monster classic hit, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, that brought the house down.
“’ Cause baby, there ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you,” the crowd sang and danced along as Ross tilted the microphone towards them.
Even though her repartee with the audience was limited as it was a tight show – one hour with 20 songs on her playlist – the diva made up by getting off the stage to shake hands with her adoring fans.
By the time she capped her performance with a personal rediscovery of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, Ross knew from the deaf- ening echoes that reverberated in the hall that she would always have a special place in the hearts of her Malaysian fans.
Retro diva: ‘We’re gonna go back to the good old days,’ says Diana Ross at the 10th anniversary gala dinner concert for MAS Enrich.