"I NEED love, love to ease my mind/And need to find time, someone to call mine/But Mama said, you can't hurry love, no you just have to wait!"
DIANA ROSS (and the Supremes) belted that one out about four decades ago. And today, the great star, Miss Ross is still belting out "You Can't Hurry Love," as well as a clutch of other hits from her "Supreme" days.
Ross, her backup-up singers, her half-dozen costumes, her glamorously unmanageable hair, and her opening act, daughter Rhonda, gave their all Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
This is pretty much the same show we saw about 10 years ago -- less a few of her Supremes hits -- but even paring down those classic tunes, Ross' show is packed with what some call nostalgia.
Naaah. I think it is real respect for the audiences that made her a star. Like Cher, Ross does not wish to "challenge" her audience, or make them "think." She wants to give the best of herself and give the people who paid good money to see her a good time. A real good time. (Memo to Madonna -- people who pay $250 a ticket don't want to think, or listen to your latest music. They just want to have fun!)
DIANA'S time onstage amounts to about 90 minutes, which is perfect. And she doesn't waste a second. She has enough solo hits to satisfy and when she sings "Don't Explain," from "Lady Sings the Blues," time stands still. Her voice, inevitably huskier, with a bit less range, remains perfect for this Billie Holiday classic.
Audience response was tremendous, especially on songs like "Love Child" and "I'm Coming Out." The ovations were idolatrous. Over the top, some might say, and Ross encourages her audience to participate. The interaction is very exciting. Ross herself seemed blown away by her reception, humbled even. (Under the imperious diva of legend, is a real woman with mortal frailties and insecurity.)
I always like to give this icon a shout-out. She is a great star who has remained true to herself and to "those wonderful people out there in the dark." They are the ones who lifted her (and Flo and Mary) to the top.
It hasn't always been easy being Diana Ross, as a Supreme or as a fabulous solo star. (One whose movie career never went where it should have, thanks in great part to the meddling of her mentor, Berry Gordy. And, of course, to the times, which haven't changed very much for leading ladies of color.)
I don't think Ross has ever really told her tale with complete candor. Less to protect herself from criticism, and more to protect herself from pain. But she has raised five beautiful children who seem to adore her. What we think we know about Diana Ross should begin and end there.
It was lovely to have you here in New York, Diana. Come back soon.
I ALWAYS eat well at my favorite French restaurant, Veau d'Or, and often see and meet interesting people.
Last Thursday was no exception. As I finished my meal, a familiar-looking woman approached me. "Hello, Liz. I'm Sean Young." We chatted a bit, pleasantly, and she departed with a friend. I admit I was so startled that I didn't put on my columnist hat to ask her what she's up to now?
Sean was a really hot name back in the '80s/'90s. She appeared in films like "Blade Runner," "Dune," "No Way Out" (remember the scene in the car with Kevin Costner?), "Stripes," "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective," "A Kiss Before Dying" and others. Some of these are real classics. Still, she had issues. A turbulent relationship with James Woods went awry, and later there were matters of not being cast in several films. It became messy, but Young kept a pretty good sense of humor, even spoofing her increasing wacky image in a movie titled, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me."
But Hollywood didn't seem to appeal to Sean much after a certain point. She opted for a lot of indies and TV and marriage and kids. She appeared more content outside the A-list hurly-burly.
After our brief encounter, I checked up on Sean Young on IMDB. According to that movie info site, the actress is as busy as she was back in the days when she was stripping down to her bustier with Kevin Costner. She has several movies completed or in post- or pre-production.
If I'd been prepared, I might have had a fuller conversation with Sean. Although she herself wasn't terribly forthcoming. She did say, much to my bemusement and amusement, "Aren't you responsible for Cindy Adams?"
As Cindy is a fabulous self-made woman and columnist I couldn't even begin to fathom this remark! I laughed and said no, but she is a friend and I love her. She is responsible for her own fame. If I run into Miss Young again, I'll have to dig deeper on exactly what she meant? Maybe all it means is that Sean is still a woman who is just a little wacky, in the nicest way.
MUSIC NOTES: I love that vinyl is making a comeback in a big way. Later this month, Sam Cooke's "Portrait of a Legend 1951-64" will be released as a double vinyl album. This was originally put out as a CD is 2003.
The company doing this, ABKCO, says that Cooke's short meteoric career was on vinyl, and as "Portrait of a Legend" contains most of his great hits -- beginning as a gospel singer with the Soul Stirrers -- it should be available that way.
Cooke's incredible career, which almost everybody believes was not even near to peaking, ended tragically when he was shot to death in a bizarre and much-disputed incident. He was just 33 when he died.
He never lived to see what he sang of so stirringly in his final song, "A Change is Gonna Come." (Some who were close to Cooke, found the song less about the burgeoning civil rights movement and more of an eerie premonition of an early death.)
ALSO: Melissa McCarthy is Rolling Stone's cover woman, and the article about this big star is amusing and interesting.
But the meat of the issue is Mikal Gilmore's poignant take on the late Freddie Mercury -- the face and most assuredly the voice of the British band Queen. It's a tragic story (Freddie died of AIDS in 1991) but one that is brimming with Mercury's genius, insecurity and courage.
Queen is reuniting with a new lead singer, the talented Adam Lambert of "American Idol" fame. Good luck to the band and to Adam, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" will never sound quite the same without Freddie.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
(c)2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
Diana Ross -- still Supreme, after all these years!
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