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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Diana Ross Live in Central Park

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high. Diana Ross did that nearly 30 years ago during her concert in New York City's Central Park, proving she is a diva to be reckoned with. A superdiva!

Never on VHS and now available on dvd by Shout! (Uk, that releases so many incredible classic pop/rock performances), this time capsule exquisitely captures Diana vs Mother Nature in two shows, actually: the rained out and the ensuing rain date.

But Miss Ross' obvious adulation of her fans and beyond-Joan Crawford tenacity are on display, center focus, during the ultimately meltimg-in-the-dark park performance.

In this free concert on Central Park's Great Lawn, Diana emerges on-stage, among dancers in primitive South Sea islander costumes, as a primitive goddess, dressed in a multi-colored, straw, ritual shawl only to doff that cover and emerge in her orange, sparkled jumpsuit. Oo-la-la, Diana! A modern goddess!

Determined to perform despite the developing thunderstorm, Diana sweeps back her mane of a wig (making sure it's still on) against stormy weather and opens with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

The video shows Miss Ross at the peak of her popularity, prowess and power. She displays an enormous connection and empathy with her audience, especially before she launches into "Reach Out and Touch."

Against the monsoon rain and winds, water dripping from her face, the diva cries out: "It took me a lifetime to get here! I'm not going anywhere!" Fierceness defined! She emerges a sopping wet trouper, lucky not to be electrocuted by the electrical equipment in a rainstorm, singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" as the crowd runs for cover.

The video, including her rain-date show the next day (Miss Ross returns in a purple jumpsuit this time), includes news reports and talking heads from 1983. As one announcer says: "The biggest love-in that ever happened in New York!" Amen to that!

Below, from day 2:

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