Knoxville has been getting a series of master classes lately in the art of aging ferociously. Last week, it was 64-year-old Neil Young
storming the Civic Auditorium. Last night, it was 66-year-old Diana Ross bringing a packed Tennessee Theatre repeatedly to its feet with a sparkling set of indisputable classics that ran from her Supremes days to her disco diva era. (Stopping off along the way for songs from Lady Sings the Blues
, and The Wiz
.) She sounded terrific--her voice still has that keening, girlish edge, but she deploys it with a sort of knowing wink that you can't mistake for innocence. And she looked great too, leaving and then returning to the stage in a series of ever more extravagant costumes (the word "dresses" would not do justice to the yards of fabric involved).
Now it's the septugenarians' turn: Later this week, we're looking forward to shows from Wanda Jackson
(the rockabilly queen is still going strong at 72) and freak-folk forefather Peter Stampfel
, who was born in 1939.