Diana Ross review, Glastonbury 2022: Seventies throwbacks from a beloved pop icon

It’s unfortunate that, at times, she sounds as though she’s doing disco karaoke after four heavy nights at Shangri-La

Mark Beaumont
Monday 27 June 2022 07:41 BST
Diana Ross performs at Glastonbury

Come back Paul McCartney’s voice, all is forgiven. In the weekend’s grand parade of Sixties hitmakers, Diana Ross’s pipes are most definitely the rustier. “There’s a great power in determination,” she wisely imparts, speaking of her struggles to make her Thank You tour and this Legends slot appearance happen, but also of her great epiglottal strain.

The Queen of Motown might appear from the wings in a flume of bubbles to a fanfare of “I’m Coming Out” – looking like she’s materialised direct from a dimension populated by glamorous snowflake people – but at times, over the coming 75 minutes, she sounds as though she’s doing disco karaoke after four heavy nights at Shangri-La. “Chain Reaction”, in particular, is flatter than a landslide hitting Ian Brown’s house.

The effect is a set that’s as much a 100,000-strong support group as celebratory sing-along. There’s still a magical frisson to being in the presence of such a supernaturally famous and universally beloved pop icon, and Glastonbury’s perm-wigged masses are not letting this one get away without a fight. They help carry her initial rush of Supremes hits – “Baby Love”, “Stop! In The Name of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” – which are chucked away early like a Legends slot death-wish. They even will on Ross’s failed attempt to start a singalong coda to gentle soul ballad “I’m Still Waiting”. The star and her songs get all the love; the performance itself is of secondary concern.

Until, that is, Ross commits the cardinal Legends slot sin and plugs her new album Thank You too hard to the watching wallets at home. “Tomorrow” is lively disco fare and the title track a marvellous throwback to her Seventies disco soul period, but the last thing we’re here for is a sales pitch, no matter how sweet. The tropical modern pop of “If the World Just Danced” suggests that all of our problems might be solved with a vigorous conga. Presumably down Club ExxonMobile.

From there it takes a cry of “I feel 47!” midway through a fabulous “Upside Down”, with the front-row security doing their customary dance routine, and her Dolly Parton country pop moment “Ease on Down the Road” to claw the set back, despite a frankly awful “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”. It’s something of a shame that Ross feels that songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I Will Survive” are her go-to showstoppers, tracks she’s had hits with but doesn’t entirely own. “I Will Survive” even gets segued into “Billie Jean” and DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win”. But by now the crowd are singing for themselves, just happy to have such a ravishing ringleader.

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