LIVE: Diana Ross @ the Palace Theatre, 6/24/14

Review by Joel Patterson

Who in the hell was doing sound for Diana Ross at the Palace Theatre last Tuesday??? Crackhead on a work release? Listen, my friend – cranking up the bass drum to the point of deafening loudness will tend to obliterate pretty much everything else. Every so often a tambourine might poke through, but from my count there were twelve musicians in the band onstage, apparently enjoying themselves and probably putting on a great show. Too bad that the audience was no place to hear it. Also: that “Metallic/Tinny” reverb preset you chose for the horns – next time, keep scrolling.

The diva herself was in fine form, flouncing through a series of six maximally shimmering sequined gowns, first a white one, then a red one, then an orange one, each with its own matching feathered boa and fan. At the end of every song – shortened a bit for the sake of our attention spans – she lofted her arms in a wing-like gesture, a motion of pure beauty and grace, and an obvious cue to stop.

Fortunately it took only the muddy, murky, sub-mp3 renditions that we were hearing to plunge us into fabulous reveries at the approximations of “Stop in the Name of Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go?” and the string of dozen other hits that began the show. Playing for an hour and a half without intermission, we got the full span of the last 50 years (holy cow, when you think about it!) including notable triumphs like “Ease on Down the Road” from the movie “The Wiz” and the later, adult contemporary ballads.

She has survived untouched, her voice still a’glimmer with the familiar, friendly, signature wiggle. But then she was always about herself. It’s not like she was a visionary or a champion-type musician that really rode the crests and calamities of those past eras, to get scarred and vanquished by their onslaught.

And that’s the right approach, obviously…

The just-about-packed-house crowd of obese middle-aged white people got on up and shimmy-shimmied and coco-popped in their seats, howling out their approval and treating the star to a standing ovation.

Steve Barnes’ review at The Times Union

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