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Concert Reviews:
Diana Ross Visits Yesterday At Fox Theatre Homecoming
 

By GARY GRAFF

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DETROIT -- Diana Ross apparently still has clout as Motown's Supreme diva.

Consider that her homecoming concert Saturday night at the Fox Theatre synced nicely to the end of the Detroit Tigers game across the street at Comerica Park so that fans were greeted by the customary Saturday fireworks display as they came out onto Woodward Avenue. Given her rep as a rainmaker, you had to wonder if she had it planned all along.

There had been fireworks inside, too -- some on the large video screen behind Ross and her 18-piece ensemble as they performed "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," some musical as her More Today Than Yesterday show surveyed a legendary career with a repertoire of enduring hits and -- somewhat new to Ross -- a bit of restraint.

There were none of the lengthy, self-aggrandizing speeches of previous years this time around. Instead Ross let the music talk for 95 minutes -- although the six sparkling dresses she sported throughout the show (would we expect anything less, after all?) each received their own ovations. She had the crowd up from the start with "The Boss" before turning her attention to the Supremes, bouncing through "More Today Than Yesterday," "Reflections" (featuring photos of the group on the screen), a slightly sloppy "You Can't Hurry Love," "Stop! In the Name of Love," "You Keep Me Hanging On" and "Love Child." "Do you remember these songs?" she asked at one point -- as if anyone in the building, including members of her family and Motown alumni such as etiquette coach Maxine Powell, didn't know every word like it was more yesterday than today.

The set also included Ross' take on Luther Vandross' "It's Hard For Me to Say," which she released in 1987, accompanied by a photo gallery of other Motown luminaries, starting with a young Berry Gordy, Jr., and finishing with Hitsville U.S.A.

Amidst the gown changes, Ross -- still a forceful presence even though her voice showed a bit of wear and tear from four consecutive nights of singing -- also visited her solo career via hits such as "Upside Down," "I'm Coming Out," "Endless Love," "It's My House" and a medley of "Love Hangover," "Take Me Higher" and, from the film version of "The Wiz," "Ease on Down the Road." She dedicated short sets to her other big screen star turns, "Lady Sings the Blues and "Mahogany," while a romp through Gloria Gaynor's disco staple "I Will Survive" led into a tribute to the late Michael Jackson that included bits of her "Missing You" and his "You Are Not Alone."

Ross and company wound things up on a high note, however, encoring with her first solo single, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" and reprising "I Will Survive," with Ross assuring her fans that while "this is a difficult time for all of us...you will survive." Nobody disagreed; they were too busy dancing.



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