Diana Ross and Music

I’ve said several times in my blog that I don’t want to do concert reviews. And for the most part, I haven’t. I’ve been to many more concerts (even within the past few months alone) than I mention. However, when there is something that inspires me or gets me thinking, I do like to share it. So…

Over this past weekend, I went to the Hollywood Bowl to see Diana Ross in concert. It got me thinking about music and shows and concerts. It was a wonderful concert – she was in very good voice and looked amazing. She sang many hits from her 40+ year career (which are way too many for one concert). Everything from the songs with the Supremes (“Baby Love”, “My World is Empty Without You”, “Where DId Out Love Go”, “Stop in the Name of Love”), to her solo hits (including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Love Hangover”, “I’m Coming Out”, “This House”, “The Boss”, “The Theme from Mahogany”) and her covers (including “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, and “I Will Survive”). For me, the two standout songs of the evening were her solo version of “Endless Love” (originally a duet with Lionel Richie), and the song “Don’t Explain” (one of two Billie Holiday songs sung in her ode to her film “Lady Sings the Blues”). Both were moving and emotional – and you could see and hear that Diana deeply felt the lyrics. I must say, it was the best performance of “Don’t Explain” I’ve ever heard. I’m still singing the song in my head. I never before understood he depth of the lyrics to that song. And for both of those songs, she just stood there and sang. It reminded me that music itself is the key. Not the dancing and glitz and lighting effects you see at most concerts these days. What is most moving is the communication through music. There is some experience that gets shared or transfered by a great performer singing a song. It is magical. That being said, Diana did four costume changes (from one glittery dress to another – looking incredible in all of them), and was totally the Diva one expected her to be. Her concert was full of glamour, which you don’t see much of today. It was all out style and beauty – very classy. And very refreshing. Another thing it brings to mind is how wonderful it is to see different artists at work. Each one unique and special in their own way. Almost like going to dinner at someone’s house. You get a brief glimpse into them and their world.

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Inspired Words from Martha Graham

In the midst of life, I found this incredibly moving quote – which I thought I’d posted part of in a previous bog, but looking back I see I had not. It speaks eloquently about the creative process for all artists, and is something I’ve felt and even touched upon in a few blogs in the past (most notably the one titled, “Creativity”). There isn’t much more to say about it, except that I am in awe of how Ms. Graham came up with such exact and truthful words…

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep directly open to and aware of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction at any time. There is only a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.
– Martha Graham

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