Darlene Love and friends played NJ Performing Arts Center

December 24th, 2012 by Mr. C

You might know Darlene Love as one of Phil Spector’s artists from the 1960s performing in a girl group called The Crystals or you might know Darlene when she provided backup vocals to Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys, and many others! Hell – some of you might even know Love as she played Danny Glover’s wife in all four of the Lethal Weapon movies! To this day, she continues to bless us with her voice as she remains relevant to her old and new fans alike! She also has been performing her signature christmas tune “Christmas – (Baby Please Come Home)” on the David Letterman Show on the last episode right before Christmas for the last 26 years!

(Darlene Love)

We had the pleasure to attend Darlene Love and friends annual Christmas Show at the NJ Performing Arts Center in downtown Newark last Saturday! And friends included powerhouse vocalists, Mary Wilson (one of the original Supremes) and Cissy Houston (Whitney Houston’s mom)! It was definitely one of the best live concerts that I attended in 2012. The show was so inspirational, uplifting, and fun especially when being performed within the confines of the beautiful and classy NJPAC structure which also holds a very distinct & warm sound.

Besides the smattering of songs to celebrate Christmas cheer, Darlene Love belted out some classic tunes such as He’s a Rebel, Da Doo Run Run, Boy I’m gonna marry, and I know where I’ve been – a song from the Broadway hit – Hairspray! One of my favorite parts of Love’s performance included the medley of songs she rattled off from Roberta Flack and Bill Medley/Righteous Brothers! Her tribute to Marvin Gaye also set the audience into a side to side mellow but groovy frenzy! Next, she introduced her friend who also appeared on the Shindig! musical show that aired on ABC-TV from 1964-1966 — Mary Wilson! Wilson dazzled us with her sparkly dress and powerful vocals! She proceeded to wow us with “I am changing”. Things got really emotional when Darlene Love sang a few bars from a hymn that Whitney Houston often performed- “Jesus Loves Me” before introducing Cissy Houston, Whitney’s Mom. Darlene and Cissy both recollected fond memories from when they worked for Dionne Warwick. Cissy Houston then went on to perform a spine tingling-hair rising rendition of O’Holy Night that got the audience up for an undisputed standing ovation at NJPAC! Cissy’s vocals were powerful and crystal clear, worthy as a voice that preaches god’s teachings with song. She hit the high notes such that it elevated the toupee from my skull! Their is no doubt where Whitney got her singing chops from. Houston’s performance was definitely one of the highlights of the night!

(Mary Wilson singing “I am changing”)

(Cissy Houston preparing to sing “O’Holy Night”)

All in all, the show was pound for pound one of the best collectives of powerhouse voices that I have seen in concert in a long while. Steven Van Zandt was scheduled to be one of the special guests as well but I guess he couldn’t make it. Darlene did sing a song that was written by Van Zandt – “All Alone on Christmas” which she sometimes performs with the E-Street band on special occassions. But yeah – Darlene Love + Cissy Houston + Mary Wilson – I won’t forget this performance!


(Darlene Love in a robe explaining what she does at 5am every morning!)

(Darlene Love shows us what she does at 5am — boxing-aerobics!)

(They are moving to the groove of “Blame it on the Boogie” by the Jackson 5)

(14 year old Ahsan performing “This Christmas”)

(Darlene Love + Ahsan with White Christmas)



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Setlist
Hark the Herald Angels sing
Ain’t that peculiar (Marvin Gaye)
You’re all I need to get by (Marvin Gaye)
Ain’t no moutain high enough (Marvin Gaye)
What’s going on (Marvin Gaye)

killing me softly (Roberta Flack)
where is the love (Roberta Flack)
soul and inspiration (Righteous Brothers)

Mary Wilson – I am changing

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
All alone on Christmas
Joy to the world (Band only)

Boxing Aerobics routine to – Blame it on the Boogie (Jackson 5)

Who’s gonna carry you
Jesus Loves Me (Whitney Houston)

Cissy Houston - O’Holy Night

(Classics)
Wait till my Bobby gets home
Da Doo Run Run
Boy I’m gonna marry

I know where I’ve been (Hairspray)

Ahsan – 14 year old Stevie Wonder prodigy
This Christmas
White Christmas (duet with Darlene Love)

Praise you
He’s a rebel
Christmas Baby please come home

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