Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mary Wilson: Live! In Washington, D.C. 2/21/09

In February 2009, Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. showcased one of popular music's most unsung heroines: Miss Mary Wilson. Mary Wilson is known as one-third of The Supremes and stayed through each (six total) line-up changes between 1959 through 1977.

Her solo career kick started officially in 1979, and she's continued to plow her own way globally to rave reviews. I was fortunate to see her Up Close show on February 21st this past weekend, where Wilson and her band did a protean mix of standards.

La Wilson's setlist for the evening criss-crossed jazz, pop, and soul, a good portion of them coming from "The Great American Songbook." With a moody blue, but affirming hue, the show opener "Here's to Life" got the crowd going with her sincere delivery. Wilson then shimmied into the burning yearn of "Body & Soul," an excellent platform for her experienced presence that Wilson has always possessed as a singer and performer. "Smile" and "What a Wonderful World," easily the most beguiling numbers, demonstrated how Wilson's voice cut between pluck and sensitivity.

Other noteworthy performances from Saturday night included "The Girl From Ipanema" covered by Wilson in her Supremes days on The Supremes at The Copa (1965), the lesser known Supremes gem "My World Is Empty With You" got a workout too. Yours truly was featured on back-up vocals with Miss Wilson, from my seat mind you. My best friend in attendance with me that night was quite amused.

All of this didn't deter La Wilson from being funny, personal, and lively with the audience at Blues Alley. I was blessed to meet Mary Wilson after the performance, where she signed my New Ways, But Love Stays (1970) and Touch (1971) Supremes LPs. I chatted her up about my admiration of her and how her as an artist. Miss Wilson also outdid her own hype as "the sexiest Supreme" with major body and beauty for someone of 64 years of age!

The evening made it crystal clear that Mary Wilson is an undervalued commodity among her Motown peers. Wilson is the example of talent that won't be held back by anyone or thing, I was glad to see it in the flesh.-QH

[Editor's Note: For more information, tour and event dates for Mary Wilson, visit QH]


Reggie said...

Damn that sound like it was an awesome show,wish I could have been there.I'm glad that you really enjoyed it.

Tha Connoisseur said...

You did it up big - Mary That's wicked!
I didn't need the "plane" additive though, I have to get on one in two weeks. With all of the "plane" business going on right now, I am very skeptical!!

Tommy said...

Great review! Sounds like you had a great time! I'm happy for the good reviews her new "Up Close" show seems to be getting.. I've always thought she had a unique (and sorely underrated) voice.. I saw her here in Calgary, AB back in May of '07. It was not in the best venue, quite frankly and we got her 'Mary Wilson of The Supremes' show instead, but she managed to deliver some golden moments and still get a few of us (myself included) out of our seats! I hope to do it again sometime!