Thursday, 11 August 2022

Out of a dream: Mary Wilson shines at Robinson

 

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Mary Wilson put on a stirring performance Friday at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino. Photo by Thurman Watts.

 

 

NICE Lake County News came pretty close to an exclusive with "The Original Dreamgirl" Mary Wilson this past Friday in conjunction with her performance in Lake County. Unfortunately, Ms Wilson's flight was late and the interview was scuttled.


Nonetheless, for your entertainment correspondent and the two-thirds capacity crowd at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino Wilson performed in the exemplary manner one would expect from a professional of her legendary stature.


Looking fit and beautiful, the founding member of the Supremes took the stage wearing an irridescent, sheer wrap, over a hot pink, sexy evening dress and launched into a medley of 60s Supreme hits; "Love Child," "My World Is Empty Without You" and "Reflections." These songs were, of course, all sung originally with Diana Ross singing lead, but Mary Wilson definitely showed the crowd that she can handle the tunes out front as well.


In her opening monologue, she introduced herself as one of the original Supremes and promised to sing all of the old songs for us "old, old, old, old teenagers." She then launched into an hilarious skit with her male backup singer to the strains of "Back In My Arms Again" which was reminiscent of the cabaret style the Supremes employed in their live shows.


Though some of us knew her age, many jaws dropped when Ms. Wilson announced she'd recently celebrated her 63rd birthday and was the proud grandmother of eight! She then segued into a duet with her guitarist, reprising the Sting-penned, "Field Of Gold." She followed that with her rendition of the Bonnie Raitt hit, "Can't Make You Love Me" to rousing applause. At this point in the performance Wilson left the stage with the promise to return to rock & roll.


She was back in a flash in black dancing attire and swung into Martha & The Vandella's "Dancing In The Street" and the crowd danced into action. So many people started dancing that soon Ms. Wilson had a second line cadre of dancers on stage with her.


Wilson then acknowledged the success of the film Dreamgirls and reminisced about seeing the Broadway stage production of it some years ago. She spoke of how even then it was seen as loosely based on the story of the Supremes. So loose, she mused, that she didn't get paid, either time.


As a tribute to the late Florence Ballard, the founder of the Supremes, Wilson stated that the Effie character in the play and film was really a fictionalized version of Ballard and that the song "I'm Changing" was the song that Flo Ballard would have sang in real life. Wilson then brought the house down with her heartfelt version of the song.


The Supremes had 12 singles that sold a more than a million copies and Mary Wilson as a solo artist had one, "I Ain't Gonna Walk That Line" a seemingly autobiographical song that powerfully revealed victory over the challenges of life.


As she attempted to end the show with "Someday We'll Be Together," the crowd would not let her. "The Original Dreamgirl" came back for two encores, pulling out all the stops on "Satisfaction," "I Want To Take You Higher" and "Brown Sugar."


Wow! How sweet it was.


E-mail Thurman Watts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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