Forty years of music and love

Forty years, well, almost. But I was surprised when compiling this list (with anecdotes) on Diana Ross concerts I’ve attended; realizing it truly has been four decades of music and love.

October 9, 1982: Oakland, California

A month prior (in September of that year) Diana released her Silk Electric album, with cover art by Andy Warhol and lead single written by Michael Jackson. At the Coliseum Arena, Ross introduced her new hit Muscles, confessing “I don’t know if it’s his fantasy, or mine” (referring to Jackson). While performing the song she encouraged men in the audience to take off their shirts and flex their muscles. It was my first-time seeing Miss Ross perform live and I was twenty-one years old.

October 19, 1983: Oakland, California

Diana returned to the San Francisco Bay Area a year later, and again I, along with 19,000 others, filled the Coliseum Arena.

February 12, 1984: San Carlos, California

After experiencing two shows with tens of thousands in-attendance, I was fortunate to see Diana next in the intimate Circle Star Theatre. My friend Randy Rice and I arrived at the venue early and peeked through locked doors while listening to Diana’s soundcheck!

Diana Ross at Circle Star Theatre, San Carlos, California; February 3, 1985.

February 3, 1985: San Carlos, California

Randy and I were seated on star aisle (where the performer enter/exits the stage) for another appearance at Circle Star. We were enthralled as Diana skipped past us to change wardrobe numerous times throughout the show. Ross ditched sequins for jeans and a t-shirt for her encore. At the time, Swept Away was a huge hit on the dance-floor; always trendy, the track’s extended version included an emerging musical style known as scratching, or scrubbing.

August 12, 1985: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

First-time seeing Miss Ross at Caesars and lucky to be in the audience as she performed a rare, funky, extended version of Telephone; from her Swept Away album.

May 1, 1987: Sacramento, California

Hours before a concert at Arco Arena (while shopping at Sunrise Mall) an excited stranger said to me out-of-the-blue, “I’ve got to find a new outfit! I’m going to see Diana Ross!” The excitement had reached the suburbs!

July 31, 1991: Concord, California

Diana appeared at the outdoor Concord Pavilion in-support of The Force Behind the Power album, the title track written by Stevie Wonder. I took my mother and it was her first Diana Ross concert!

July 17-22, 1996: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

This weeklong appearance at Caesars became the first-time I attended multiple shows during the same engagement. It is also my most-memorable Diana Ross experience, which began with “Miss Ross, I’d like you to meet my friend Rob…” On that special night, Diana left the stage and held my hand while singing Blame It on the Sun; before whispering “I love you” in my ear. Later, Miss Ross told the audience (while pointing at me) I thought the music was too loud. Minutes earlier she had asked me about the sound. It was the first time I’d been in the front row at Caesars and it was loud! Randy flew into Tahoe before the end of the engagement, and was surprised when Diana left the stage again to sing while standing next to our table.

November 10, 2004: Phoenix, Arizona

Without an original release in almost a decade, Diana began formatting her show around a greatest hits concept. The Celebrity Theatre is an intimate venue similar to Circle Star. I took my husband Mike and it was his first Diana Ross concert! Vegas headliner Frank Marino was also in the audience.

November 13, 2004: Cupertino, California

I flew to Cupertino and met Randy for Diana’s appearance at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts.

April 13, 2007: Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Another special experience when Diana Ross appeared on the Isabella Reservation in Michigan (where I was born), at my tribe’s Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. I had about a dozen seats in the front row and invited a few family members and close friends. Two years prior, Diana released a collection of classic love songs titled I Love You. The album featured a remake of More Today Than Yesterday, and although not a hit for her it became a new staple in the show.

May 29, 2010: Detroit, Michigan

It was definitely exciting to see Miss Ross in her hometown, in the historical Fox Theatre, during a tour dedicated to the late Michael Jackson. Diana performed You Are Not Alone beneath a huge backdrop of the King of Pop.

August 6, 2013: San Francisco, California

Mike, Randy and I sat front row balcony in the historic Golden Gate Theatre.

Entrance to Colosseum at Caesars Las Vegas; September 19, 2014.

September 19, 2014: Las Vegas, Nevada

Mike and I invited friends to join us front row balcony in the Colosseum at Caesars.

Diana Ross on stage at Fantasy Springs, Indio, California; September 20, 2014.
Promotional button.

September 20, 2014: Indio, California

The next day, Mike and I drove to Palm Springs for Diana’s show at Fantasy Springs tribal casino and resort.

Diana Ross on stage at Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California; September 26, 2014.

September 26, 2014: Oakland, California

I’ll never forget the sight of promoter Rick Bartalini directing fans out of the path of Diana’s limo, which was attempting to exit an alleyway. It reminded me of that scene in The Bodyguard when Whitney Houston is trying to leave a theatre after performing and is besieged by fans. People were screaming “Diana!” as the car sped away. It was classic fandemonium.

September 27, 2014: Lincoln, California

A cloudy Thunder Valley outdoor concert with a little wind, a few sprinkles of rain, and a lot of glamour on stage.

April 1-18, 2015: Las Vegas, Nevada

At-first I felt guilty attending almost every performance of The Essential Diana Ross: Some Memories Never Fade, at The Venetian. But how could I stay home knowing she’s practically down the street?

February 8, 10 & 14, 2017: Las Vegas, Nevada

Second-run in The Venetian Theatre included a Valentine’s Day show, which I shared with my husband Mike.

November 2-21, 2017: Las Vegas, Nevada

The end of Diana’s residency at The Venetian, and it’s a dream-come-true being able to drive down to the Strip for her shows.

October 11, 2017: Las Vegas, Nevada

Endless Memories opens in the Encore Theatre at Wynn. Thanks to uber-fans Cliff Flores and Joan Androvett-Zurynetz, I’m where I need to be with a last-minute ticket!

American Music Awards souvenir program.

November 19, 2017: Los Angeles, California

Although not a concert, Diana performed at the American Music Awards before being honored for lifetime achievement, during a ceremony held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. For fun and on spur-of-the-moment, my husband Mike and I attended the live broadcast, sitting front row balcony center. Diana’s daughter Tracee Ellis-Ross hosted the awards ceremony, while son Evan Ross introduced their mother. Memorable moments include the announcement that Diana Ross had entered the auditorium; accompanied by screams and clapping as she walked to her seat in the front row, wearing a black sequin suit. There was no missing the hair and the sparkle! During commercial breaks Diana posed for photos with those seated around her. She also got up from her seat and danced during one of the performances at the beginning of the show.

February 9, 2018: Las Vegas, Nevada

More Endless Memories at Wynn. Thanks again to uber-fans Cliff and Fred Rimando for another last-minute ticket! Beginning with this run Diana added a Q&A to her show, before the encore.

February 6-23, 2019: Las Vegas, Nevada

Diana Ross returned to the Wynn with a re-titled show Diamond Diana, in-celebration of her 75th birthday.

Of course there is much more to all these concerts, and I left out a few, but consider this list extends thirty-six years. Again, almost four decades of endless memories, experiencing live, the music that became a soundtrack to my life.

Me, standing next to Diana Ross 1980 promotional poster.