Among the many predictable hits in the set list, such as a Supremes medley, “Endless Love,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” are a couple of less expected covers. Michael Sembello’s then-contemporary “Maniac” (from the movie Flashdance) gets a workout, complete with a choreographed dance routine. Ross received a big cheer as she launched into a short version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” but even though she assures the crowd, “You know how much I love Michael,” she didn’t know this song very well. Even more surprising is when she blanks on the lyrics to her own smash, “Upside Down.” She tries to play it off by flirting with the hoard of police officers providing security.
Whatever flaws there may be only makes the performance that much more genuinely endearing. By the end of the show, the legendary performer is moved to tears, clearly overcome with emotion in front of 400,000 fans. Kudos to the DVD producers (and Ms. Ross herself) for including both shows. The rain-shortened concert includes an informative audio commentary by the director, Steve Binder. All these years later, Binder has a great memory and is able to share many details about the concerts. Live in Central Park is essential viewing for Diana Ross fans.