“I’m coming out, I want the world to know” belted Diana Ross as she strode on to the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage, filling the teatime legends slot on the festival’s final day.
Drawing what appeared to be the largest crowd of the five-day festival, the Motown icon promised the audience some “old town Supremes” as well as newer tracks.
The 78-year-old star confided in the crowd that there were moments she didn’t think she’d be able to complete the tour, adding “there’s a power in determination, knowing what you want to do in life and the way you want it to be”.
It has been 15 years since Ross last toured, and her Thank You tour brought her to London’s O2 Arena ahead of her Glastonbury turn.
Fans were clearly very glad she’d made the trip.
Cracking straight into some of her classics including Baby Love, Stop! In The Name Of Love, You Can’t Hurry Love, and Chain Reaction, she asked the audience, “Do you remember these songs?”.
Singing along, the tens-of-thousands strong crowd most definitely did.
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Ross’s daughter, Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross was also at the festival to see her mother perform.
Wearing a silver sequined floor length gown, tuille cape and feathered headpiece Ross looked every inch the legend as she sang, at one point coming down a small flight of stairs to walk the front of the stage, closer to fans.
Later she delighted the audience with a shimmy, joking: “If I can move my body like this when I’m 47 years old… Well, I feel 47. I had a birthday this year, I turned 78-years-old.”
With the sun shining, and temperatures at about 20C, there was no mud fest here as in 2007 – the year Shirley Bassey played the legend slot – wearing diamond encrusted Wellington boots to keep out the slop.
52 years of hits
During her 75-minute set, which surprised with a pink confetti cannon around half-way through, Ross worked through hits spanning her 52-year career.
Referring to the enforced isolation over the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she called the time her “gap year”, telling the crowd it gave her time “to think about what you want in life”.
Writing her latest album Thank You in lockdown, she emotionally told the crowd: “I’m so grateful for this life and to be here with you,” adding, “I love to sing in the light, to look out and see your faces and see your eyes. Can you see me, because I can see you.”
After performing three of her newer tracks, Ross delivered more crowd pleasers including Upside Down, during which security staff at the front of the stage worked their way through a disco-inspired flash mob dance.
Blowing a kiss to the crowd, Ross performed Why Do Fools Fall In Love, before moving on to the theme from her film Mahogany, during which she seemed to suffer some technical difficulties, fiddling with her mic pack, but carrying on like a trooper.
Two of her big numbers were saved to the end of the show – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and I Will Survive, during which most of her band – backing singers, guitarist, drummer and keyboardist – all had a solo moment in which to shine.
But there was only one star of the show. As her Hollywood Walk Of Fame star flashed up on large screens around the stage, Ross told her fans, “I love you so much, you’re wonderful”.
It was a feeling reciprocated by the crowd, some of whom had paper Diana Ross masks to prove the point.
As lead singer of the Supremes – one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time – and then a successful solo artist, Ross has collected an army of fans, and achieved worldwide fame.
Now, following in the footsteps of Kylie, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, she has more than lived up to her legend status. A true Glastonbury Queen.
American rapper Kendrick Lamar closed the festival on Sunday evening, marking the end of Glastonbury 2022 – a sold out event fans had to wait three years to celebrate.