Return to Love Tour
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|Tour by Diana Ross, The Supremes|
|Start date||June 16, 2000|
|End date||August 3, 2000|
|No. of shows||29 (14 played, 15 cancelled)|
|Diana Ross, The Supremes concert chronology|
The Return to Love Tour was a 2000 concert tour by American singing group Diana Ross and the Supremes.
In 1999, Diana Ross released her final album on Motown Records, Every Day is a New Day. According to Ross (featured in an interview with Barbara Walters), Scott Sanders, a close friend of Ross', suggested adding an entire Supremes segment to her promotional concert tour for the then-new album in which she would perform full versions of the hits she recorded when she was with the Supremes. The idea developed into an entire show of Supremes songs which would reunite Ross with her former singing partners, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong, as well as tour for the first time with all of the women who became Supremes following Ross' departure in January, 1970, Jean Terrell, Susaye Greene, Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence. Ross approached Arthur Fogel, head of concert promotions for TNA/SFX(now Live Nation Entertainment), who, reportedly, agreed. In the fall and winter of 1999, Ross contacted all of the group's former members, placing them in contact with TNA/SFX, then left negotiations between the artists, their agents and TNA/SFX. Upon contacting the tour's promoter, Wilson's initial queries regarded Ross' salary.
Negotiations between the Supremes and the promoters began to crumble in December 1999, shortly after Ross contacted Wilson. In conflicting accounts given by Wilson to The New York Times and ABC's Primetime Live television program, Wilson stated that she wanted to speak with Ross directly before beginning negotiations, with Ross felt they should speak after negotiations took place. Following Ross' initial contact, she removed herself from the negotiations leaving them between the women, their representatives, and the promoters. TNA/SFX initially offered all of the women $1 million in guaranteed payment, meaning that they'd receive the full amount of their contracts, regardless of how many performances actually took place, as stipulated by Ross. Tour performance fees are determined by an artist's most recent earnings. Wilson, stated that she'd earned roughly $1 million in performance fees the previous year. Wilson and Birdsong were also informed they would have not have any creative input into the show, as neither had previous experience constructing a stadium tour. Wilson rejected the initial offer feeling she, Ross, and Birdsong should be paid equally and have equal input into the show. By this time, Wilson convinced Birdsong to let Wilson negotiate on her behalf, though no evidence has surfaced suggesting any efforts made by Wilson to increase Birdsong's offer. TNA/SFX increased Wilson's offer to $2 million after her initial rejection. Ross agreed to offer Wilson an additional $2 million from her personal finances, for a total of $4 million. Wilson and Birdsong's request for creative input into the show was again rejected. Wilson erroneously stated publicly that Ross was to receive between $15 to $20 million for the tour. Ross, as the tour's co-producer, was receiving $500,000USD per night from TNA/SFX to cover the tour's expenses. When the tour's expenses exceeded the allotment, Ross personally covered the overages.
Wilson's final offer of $4 million and Birdsong's offer of $1 million came with a deadline of early 2000 (in order to begin production of the sets, costume fittings, hiring of staff, etc., as well as the on-schedule commencement of the tour). The deadline passed before Wilson accepted the final offer. The promoter ceased negotiations with Wilson and Birdsong. Without Wilson or Birdsong, Ross began to question whether to continue to stage the tour. Berry Gordy, after being contacted by Ross for advice, reportedly told her to continue "If it's something she'd have fun doing.". Ross decided to continue.
70s Supremes Lynda Lawrence and Sherry Payne(members of Former Ladies of The Supremes), already in negotiations with TNA/SFX for the tour, were chosen to perform with Ross on the tour. 70s lead singer Jean Terrell opted out of the tour, following a request by TNA/SFX that she audition, as promoters had not heard her singing voice since her 70s hit singles with The Supremes, "Up The Ladder To The Roof" and "Stoned Love". Susaye Greene also chose not to participate in the tour.
Wilson began a negative press tour, condemning RTL and Ross, in particular. Following Wilson's "Primetime Live" appearance, Ross appeared the next night with Barbra Walters to correct some of Wilson's misstatements concerning the origins of the tour and alleged disparity in pay between herself and Wilson, to no avail. Press reports vilified Ross, though few, if any, media outlets contacted TNA/SFX to ascertain which artist's narrative was correct.
The newly constructed Diana Ross and The Supremes began a media blitz for the tour, appearing on "The Today Show", "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and VH1's "Divas 2000:A Tribute To Diana Ross", following the tour's initial press conference, held in the Grand Concourse of New York City's Grand Central Station. During the press conference, Ross again suggested that the group's other former members were welcome to join the tour.
The Return To Love Tour commenced at Philadelphia's The Spectrum arena, before a sold-out crowd of 18,000+-strong. The concert's first fifteen minutes were aired by VH1. The ladies made their entrance atop a tall staircase, in mirrored gowns designed by longtime Ross collaborator, Bob Mackie, who designed four more costume changes for the tour. The show included massive video screens, the latest lighting and sound technologies, a troupe of dancers, backing singers and a full orchestra, split on either side of the staircase. The shows usually last between two and two and a half hours, though their run times were shortened after the intermission was eliminated following their performance in Detroit, Michigan.
Each artist performed a solo set; Ross performed her solo hits; Lawrence performed "Up The Ladder To The Roof", while Payne performed "Stoned Love". The ladies performed a tribute to Gordy in the form of his composition, "Money(That's What I Want)". Other, more obscure 60s Supremes songs ("In and Out of Love" and "Forever Came Today" among them) were performed during the tour. "Someday, We'll Be Together" was never performed.
The tour received glowing reviews from each media outlet of record in every city in which the tour performed, however, ticket sales in many markets were not as brisk as expected, reportedly settling somewhere between 8,000 and 11,000 tickets sold per show, in venues with capacities of 15,000 to 18,000+. The tour's only other sellout performance was its last, at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The show received glowing reviews and included an impromptu duet between Ross and R&B singer Luther Vandross of her 1993 single "Best Years of My Life".
Shortly after the MSG performance, TNA/SFX cancelled the tour, citing slow ticket sales.
- Come See About Me
- Back in My Arms Again
- Baby Love
- You Can't Hurry Love
- Love Child
- The Happening
- Love Is Here and Now You're Gone
- I Hear a Symphony
- You Keep Me Hangin' On
- Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart
- Stop! In the Name of Love
- Where Did Our Love Go
- In and out of Love (Select shows)
- Forever Came Today (Select shows)
- Nothing But Heartaches (Select shows)
- Touch Me in the Morning (Diana Ross solo)
- Love Hangover (Diana Ross solo)
- Endless Love (Diana Ross solo)
- Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To) (Diana Ross solo)
- Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Diana Ross solo)
- Up the Ladder to the Roof (Lynda Laurence solo)
- Stoned Love (Scherrie Payne solo)
- Reach Out I'll Be There
- I Will Survive