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Diana Ross set for first performance in islands

  • Steve Jennings / Courtesy Rick Bartalini Presents
    Diana Ross in concert at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco in 2011. She will perform in Hawaii for the first time June 13 at Blaisdell Arena and June 14 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
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In a career spanning more than 50 years, Diana Ross has sold 50 million albums, recorded 18 No. 1 singles, earned one Academy Award nomination and performed in Hawaii … zero times.

That will change June 13 when Ross makes her isle debut at Blaisdell Arena. A performance at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center will follow the next night.

Tickets for both shows go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. March 27. However, recognizing the furor that arose last year after 42 percent of tickets to Bruno Mars’ concerts went out of state, leaving many local fans disappointed, promoter Rick Bartalini has arranged a special presale window on Sunday for Hawaii residents.

Buyers with a Hawaii zip code may buy up to eight tickets apiece for the Blaisdell performance between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday at ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

"We expect a sellout, and though it’s impossible to eliminate scalpers, we will do our best," Bartalini said.

Ticket prices for the Blaisdell show range from $45 to $225. When sales to the general public open March 27, they will be available at RBPconcerts.com or ticketmaster.com, at the Blaisdell box office and by phone at 800-745-3000. For the Maui show, tickets are $55 to $250 and will be available at RBPconcerts.com and mauiarts.org, the MACC box office and by phone at 242-7469, also on March 27.

The Detroit-born Ross became a household name in the mid-1960s when she and the Supremes rode her sweet soprano to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 with five straight singles — including "Baby Love," "Where Did Our Love Go" and "Stop! In the Name of Love" — helping the Motown record label integrate the pop charts. Ross went solo in 1970, topping the charts almost immediately with "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough." Two years later she earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in "Lady Sings the Blues."

She remained a force on the music charts, adding five more No. 1 songs, including her 1981 duet with Lionel Richie, "Endless Love."

Based on the reviews of her performance for the reopening of the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, N.Y., last month, Ross is as good at 70 as she has been throughout her career. The New York Times called her "a human sparkler … with a thousand-watt smile," and the Hollywood Reporter said she was "in fine voice" for an 80-minute set that "proceeded at a frenetic pace, with the star barreling from one number to the next."

In a statement, Ross described her stage show thusly:

"I like to keep the emphasis on the music. I want very much when the audience comes in to see the show that there is a good sound. If we keep our attention on presenting good music with a good sound and good visuals, that is really what the show is all about. It’s about the music and to have their own personal and private memories about each of the songs. That is really the exciting part about being on stage for me, at this time in my life.

"Aloha, Hawaii. See you soon."

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