On July 21,1983, this internationally beloved performer began her superbly staged open-air free concert to benefit a Central Park playground. Some 400,000+ fans, along with Ross, braved ever-increasing wind, rain and electrical storm activity for a short 10-song set before the concert was aborted. Ross and the band were totally drenched as electrical equipment began to fail until only her wireless mic, one on the drum, and one for the piano remained operational. Ross was majestic as she repeatedly calmed the crowd and promised to “come back tomorrow!”
With an even larger audience in attendance—some estimated well over a million for both days—the next day’s concert proceeded with a 21-song set including a medley of Supremes hits. While legal wrangling caused delays, in 1986, the “Diana Ross Playground” at 83rd and Central Park West was finally completed. This 160 minute-plus DVD contains both the remarkable first day storm-shortened concert as well as the second day’s full concert along with an extensive commentary by noted director, Steve Binder, who provides fascinating behind the scenes insights of the first day. Was it worth the 29-year wait? Absolutely!
– Scott Peavler