Diana Ross probably owns sparkly gowns in every color known to man. She rocked three of them during her concert at Verizon Theatre earlier this evening - hypnotizing, flowy things in pinkish red, silver and yellow. And each gown made its entrance under its own poofy wrap, the second one featuring enough yellow feathers to warrant a side eye from Big Bird.
Ross' getups alone were worth the price of admission to the "In the Name of Love Tour," which also offered a large, classy band backing her for an hour and a half of monster hits. But only a few thousand turned up to witness the spectacle, not nearly enough to pack the house.
I mean, I know the place is in Grand Prairie and all, but it's downright lame that more didn't show up to see a musical legend who still performs with elegance and precision at 70. At least the packed front sections danced with hands in the air throughout.
Ross appeared on stage just after 8 p.m. to the tune of "I'm Coming Out," naturally, joining a four-man horn section, two drummers, a guitarist, a bassist, a keyboardist and three backing vocalists. From the start, she gave us Diana, the icon, stretching her arms out as if she wanted to hug the entire audience. She stayed right in the pocket on Spiral Staircase's "More Today Than Yesterday," making us forget that the song wasn't hers to begin with.
And then came the Supremes song-a-thon, which made every occupied section spring to life as soon as the opening notes of "Come See About Me" were heard. "It's memory time!" Ross shouted as she moved into "My World Is Empty Without You." Then "Baby Love," then "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "You Can't Hurry Love." Finally, "Love Child." On all those simply brilliant l-word blockbusters, Ross sang in the chirpy, radio-ready voice that made her a star in the '60s and helped shape the sound of pop for years to come.
After the Motown nostalgia ended, it was time for Ross to do a quick change and give us some of her grown and sexy solo hits. She had a lot of fun doing the disco stuff - "The Boss," "Upside Down" and "Love Hangover" found her flirting with and pointing to audience members, telling them to dance with more conviction. They finally matched her rhythm and energy when she did a speedy take on "Ease on Down the Road" from The Wiz.
As much as those upbeat tunes pleased the audience, Ross' vocals were at their most effervescent during the slower, more tender selections. She stood still and belted both "Touch Me in the Morning" and "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)." And Ross absolutely slayed vocally on Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain" - a reminder of her brilliance in Lady Sings the Blues.
Ross kept the pacing just right by introducing different band members during songs and letting them do short solos, all while she cooled herself off with a large folding fan - ever the friendly diva.
She seemed genuinely appreciative of her crowd: "I love seeing your faces ... Truth is, I come to see you," she told them.
The only thing that nearly wiped the permasmile from her face were a few balloons being tossed around in the front section near the end of the show. Halfway through her cover of "I Will Survive," she asked that the balloons be put away. Away they went.
After all, Ms. Ross is still the boss. It's just a shame more of her employees didn't show up for their night shift.