It's been more than 30 years since Diana Ross hit the top of the U.S. charts with her Lionel Richie duet, "Endless Love," but no matter. The lady is still a star, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide between her work with the Supremes - which remain America's most successful vocal group, with 12 No. 1 hits - and her solo successes as a singer and actress. Having influenced several generations of singers, Ross at 70 shows no signs of slowing down, as evidenced by her just-launched In The Name of Love tour, which brings her to both Atlantic City and Philly this week. Between the dazzling stage sets and sequin-laden costume changes, the über-diva is wowing fans with a musical overview of songs that made her a sensation all those years ago. That means the Supremes' biggies are in there, along with solo smashes like "Touch Me in the Morning" and "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)." She's even been known to toss in a cover tune or two, like Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," all while charming the crowd with story-telling and her undimmed star-power.
- Nicole Pensiero
Surely you remember the York, Pa., quartet Live. This 1990s alt-rock band, fronted by shaven-head singer Ed Kowalcyk, hit it big with the eight-million-selling album Throwing Copper, with the huge MTV hits "Selling The Drama," "Lightning Crashes," and "All Over You." Kowalcyk and three other original members of Live - guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer, and drummer Chad Gracey - went their separate ways in 2009. But Live is an ongoing concern, with new lead singer Chris Shinn stepping in. The quartet toured last year with Shinn, whose voice can sound remarkably like Kowalcyk's, and they have a new album, due in October. It's produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, who also helmed their '90s work. Live go live at Revel in Atlantic City on Friday night.
- Dan DeLuca
Joe Henry has created a fascinating career trajectory since his start as an alt-country singer-songwriter in the mid-Eighties. He's an acclaimed producer, for Solomon Burke, Bonnie Raitt, Meshell Ndegeocello and many others, specializing in moody, rootsy and soulful atmospheres. He's the author, with his brother, of a recent biography of comedian Richard Pryor. And he's continued his solo career, with albums that blur the lines between folk and soul and blues, while often drafting players from other genres (such as Helmet guitarist Paige Hamilton for 1996's Trampoline or jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman for 2001's Scar). His albums are thoughtful, nuanced and exploratory: the new Invisible Heart, his 13th album, contemplates marriages from a variety of refracted angles. At World Café Live Thursday, his son Levon Henry will accompany him on clarinet and sax.
- Steve Klinge