September 4th, 2012
Artist: Diana Ross
Format: DVD (160 min.)
Label: Shout! Factory
Release date: May 15, 2012
Performing on a rain-drenched night for a crowd of 800,000 fans, Diana Ross proved “she is the stuff of which entertainment legends are made,” as one reviewer praised. Despite eyewitness accounts of Ross’s knock-out performance, video footage from her 1983 Central Park concert has been unavailable to the public. At long last, Shout! Factory has commercially released the historical footage, unseen for over 30 years.
On that legendary night, Ross proved that “no wind, no rain” could stop her. As the dangerous weather conditions gave way to unrest among the crowd, Ross assisted the police officers with crowd control by engaging the audience. Ross sang her way into entertainment history, performing in the rain for as long as her fans were willing to stand with her. She further demonstrated her commitment to her work and fans when she rescheduled the performance just two days later. During the follow-up show, the former Supreme ran with even more enthusiasm to meet “the kids” (as she referred to her audience in an interview) and proclaimed, “I’m coming out! I’m coming!”
The set list from the concert includes a variety of songs: “It’s My House,” one of her own hits; “Home” from The Wiz; a medley from the Supremes, including “Reflections” and “Baby Love”; covers of Billie Holliday’s “God Bless The Child,” Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers’ “Why do Fools Fall in Love?” and former Motown-label mate Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky”; and much more.
The Diana Ross seen in New York’s Central Park is miles apart from the early Diana Ross seen in the mid-1960s on the Ed Sullivan show, when
the world-famous Supremes delivered their family-friendly girl group hits. By 1983, Ross had clearly forged an identity of her own and embraced her womanhood. She asserted a vibe that was part maternal/part temptress, as she calmed the crowd while flirting with the boys in blue. Ross’s performance illustrates that there is more to her than musical talent: She has dedication. On that night, Ross repaid her fan’s endurance by giving them the performance of a lifetime.
For more complete coverage of the concert, visit People magazine’s archived article “Ain’t No Storm Big Enough.”
Reviewed by Melody Barham