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Mary Wilson, Pops give folks fun night of ’60s

From Cincinnati.com by Janelle Gelfand

Mary Wilson admitted that she was “one of the girls behind Diana Ross singing the oohs and ahs and baby babies” when she was one of the original Supremes. On Saturday in Music Hall, she sang a hit parade of songs that many in the audience knew, word for word. And no one seemed to mind that her voice, unlike Diana’s, was husky, or that she often strained to reach a high note. 

The Cincinnati Pops show was a flashback to the ‘60s, with Wilson providing about an hour of Motown hits from the heyday of the Supremes, paired with classic standards such as “Body and Soul.” Complementing her show, guest conductor Matt Catingub opened the evening with other music of the era, including the Beatles, Herb Alpert and a fantastic medley of ‘60s TV theme songs.

Wilson looked the diva in a long black sequined gown, as she came out to a medley of “I Hear a Symphony,” “Love Child” “My World is Empty” and “Reflections.” Backed by her own band, two back-up singers and the Pops (which played about half of her set), she strolled the stage, chatted between numbers (she’ll be 67 in March, she’s on her way to Russia and she has eight grandchildren) and once invited people to come up and dance. (Two did.)

There’s no doubt that she owns this music – after all, she’s been singing it for 50 years, since Motown signed her at age 16. What fun it was to see her singing “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” while audience members clapped and swayed.

Vocally, she seemed most comfortable in a set of ballads more suited to her range. Her voice was smoky and warm in “Here’s to Life,” and she communicated its lyrics with style. She gave a nod to Sting in “Fields of Gold,” and to Joni Mitchell in a dreamy arrangement of “Both Sides Now.”

She was touchy about the movie “Dreamgirls,” saying, “It’s not about the Supremes” and joking that “I didn’t get paid.” But she said Jennifer Hudson’s character representing Florence Ballard rang true. To her friend Ballard, who died in 1976, Wilson dedicated a song from the film,” I Am Changing,” delivering her most emotional performance of the evening.

The crowd was on its feet as she concluded with “Someday We’ll Be Together,” the No. 1 hit of 1969.

2 Responses to “Mary Wilson, Pops give folks fun night of ’60s”

  1. hollyjd@fuse.net Says:

    Mary Wilson!!!! She was Beautiful and lovable!!!!! I sat second row although my seat was front row to see her better!!!! SHE SANG HERES TO LIFE WITH MUCH POWER!!!! I LOVE MARYS VOICE IT’S SEXY AND IT IS A MARY WILSON VOICE!!!! NO ONE CAN MIMIC MARYS voice!!!!!!! I GOT A CHANCE TO DANCE ON STAGE WITH HER!!!! SHE WAS GREAT!!!!! IT’S THE BEST CONCERT IVE EVER SEEN!!!!! And IVE SEEN MANY!!!!!! A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME, TO FINALLY MEET MARY!!!! HERE’S TO LIFE THANKS MARY!!!! HOPE TO SEE YOU AGAIN SOON!!!! HOLLY!

  2. chas Says:

    great show!!!!!

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