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.
Talks and plans for the tour were well underway before Wilson was contacted by Ross in December 1999. Wilson, upset she had been contacted so late, wanted to speak with Ross directly before beginning negotiations. 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 Wilson $1 million. Birdsong was reported to have been offered less than $1 million. Tour performance fees are determined by an artist's most recent earnings. Wilson, reportedly, 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. Wilson rejected the initial offer feeling she, Ross, and Birdsong should be paid equally and have equal input into the show. Promoters increased Wilson's offer up to $2 million after the initial rejection. Ross agreed to offer Wilson an additional $2 million from her personal finances to the $2 million TNA/SFX proposed for a total of $4 million. Wilson and Birdsong's request for creative input into the show was again rejected. Ross stipulated that all of the others artists' fees were guaranteed, meaning that they'd receive the full amount of their contracts, regardless of how many performances actually took place. Wilson erroneously stated publicly that Ross was to receive between $15 to $20 million. Ross, as the tour's co-producer, was receiving $500,000 per night from TNA/SFX to cover the tour's expenses. When the expenses exceeded the allotment, Ross 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., and an on-schedule commencement of the tour). Wilson did accept the final offer, but her acceptance was rejected by TNA/SFX citing "the train has left the station." 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 Jr. had called TNA/SFX during the negotiation process requesting Wilson and Birdsong deserve better pay and have creative input into the show. Ross contacted Gordy for advice about the tour and reportedly told her to continue "if it's something she'd have fun doing;" however warned her about continuing without Wilson and Birdsong. Ross decided to continue.
TNA/SFX approached 70's Supremes Jean Terrell, Susaye Greene, Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne, the latter two of whom toured as "Former Ladies of the Supremes," about being part of the tour. The ladies were asked to sing for the promoters in Los Angeles to get a sense of how to put the show together. The ladies were led to believe they would all be included in the tour. It was soon realized by some of the ladies that not all would be involved in the show. Instead, the promoters were seeking which lady would sound best with Ross. Terrell, insulted by being asked to audition, refused to participate. Greene, Laurence, and Payne agreed to audition, however, Greene was passed over. Greene later stated she was struck by how she was informed by TNA/SFX through an email that she wasn't needed by stating "two Supremes have been cast." TNA/SFX instead chose Payne and Laurence to continue the tour with Ross.
Tour received extensive promotion with Ross, Laurence, and Payne 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 tour began at Philadelphia's The Spectrum arena, before a sold-out crowd of over 18,000. The concert's first fifteen minutes were aired by VH1. Bob Mackie designed five costume changes for the tour. The show included massive video screens, a troupe of dancers, backing singers and a 50-piece orchestra. The show initially ran roughly two and a half hours, but it was shortened after the intermission was eliminated following their performance in Detroit, Michigan.
Ross performed her solo hits following intermission with the addition of Laurence performing "Up The Ladder To The Roof" and Payne performing "Stoned Love" later in the tour.
Despite glowing reviews, ticket sales in many markets were not as brisk as expected, reportedly settling somewhere between 5,000 and 11,000 tickets sold per show, in venues with capacities of 18,000 to 20,000. 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