One of “Motown”s defining singers, Ms Diana Ross, after all these years, appeared for the very first time, at Ravinia. in Highland Park. Entering the sold-out grounds of Ravinia tonight, one could feel the excitement of the evening. The audience, on the lawn and in the Pavilion, were anticipating hearing the songs of their past and Ms Ross never let them down. The show began with Rhonda Ross, her daughter under the musical direction of Terry Burrus. Miss Ross is a songwriter of note, and while not her mother, plays well to her audience. While most of her songs were in fact, her songs, she did a solid rendition of “Killing Me Softly”. Her set was about 20 minutes and I am sure that the audience was waiting for her mother to take the stage.
As Diana came on stage, beginning her set with “I Love You More Than Yesterday”, followed by her past hits from “THE” “Motown ” days. Added to the mix were numbers from her hit film, “The Wiz”, and of course “Stop In The Name Of Love”. In our hearts, Ms Ross defines The Supremes and their impact on music of the days of my youth. Yes, she took on Hollywood doing films, but to be honest, it is her voice and style that truly define Diana Ross.
Ms Ross looked fabulous and listening to her vocal range brought me back to a special time.” She still has it!”, She also looked fantastic as she made three costume changes, each with a full length feathered jacket over each beautiful dress. It was a very warm and humid night in Highland Park, and while we were close to the lake, the breeze was down in the city at Wrigley Field as home runs left the ball park as the North-siders beat the South-siders. The Pavilion was a bit warm and understandably they cannot do much to cool off an open air theater. I would imagine the lawn was just a bit warmer. Ms. Ross carried a mike in one hand and a fan in the other and while she was hot, she was also “hot” bringing us music that everyone loved; “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Reach Out and Touch Somebody” and many of the great ones from the 70’s.
Under the direction of Cecil Thomas, Jr., her eight musicians brought the sounds of Diana Ross and “Motown” to Highland Park as they were meant to be performed. The show lasted until 10:10, 100 minutes with no intermission and I am positive the audience would not have minded another half hour, or more! Ms Ross still has the style and personality that made her the star that she is year after year, and despite the flowing years, nothing has changed at all. Now that she has come to Ravinia and seen the wonder that brings others back years after year, perhaps, Diana Ross will come back for 2017. If she does, and you missed this year, run, do not walk to order your ticket for an amazing night of performance.
To see what else is happening at Ravinia, visit http://www.ravinia.orgor call 847-266-5100
Editors Note: Jane ended up covering this long awaited show for the site. Diana Ross was (and still is) one of her all-time favorites. She loves the music, so it was fitting for her to write this one instead of me.