It was 1983. The concert was one of the first that was broadcast live on television. It was outside and the conditions could not have been much worse with the wind and the rain.
Before the bad weather, the estimate was that 800,000 people were watching live in Central Park and millions were watching live around the world. Nancy and I were two of those millions. We had been fans from the beginning of her career. We loved her voice and her music.
Do you know who I am talking about? Do you know who in 1983 could draw 800,000 New Yorkers to Central Park? Do you know who would continue singing under some of the worst conditions ever? Watch the video clip below to see just how bad the conditions were.
If you are near my age, you likely remember this verse from a song that she sang that night that also described the conditions:
If you need me call me no matter where you are,
No matter how far;
Just call my name; I’ll be there in a hurry;
You don’t have to worry,
I think there are two important messages, one is from the song and the other is from the performance that night. For me, the message from the song is one for parents and people in love. Put simply, “there ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from you when you need me.”
What is the message from Diana Ross’ courageous performance that night? For me it is this:
The true test of a performer is not how well she performs in an air conditioned auditorium, but rather how well she performs in the wind and rain.
Tonight, Diana Ross will give a concert in Dallas called: A Night to Remember. It is a concert to raise funds for CitySquare’s 25th anniversary fighting poverty. While the title is A Night to Remember, I am confident it will not be memorable in the same context as the Central Park concert. I suspect there will be no wind, no rain to challenge Diana.
The true test for you is not how well you perform when you have a good case, or everything is going smoothly on your deal, but rather how well you perform when everything outside of your control seems stacked against you.