Darlene Love Returns to Landmark for a Rocking Holiday Performance

Saturday night capped off a weekend of entertainment at Landmark on Main Street with Darlene Love’s annual holiday show – “Love For the Holidays.” The veteran performer who appears on David Letterman each year to sing her hit “It’s Christmas Baby Please Come Home,” sold out Landmark for the second year in a row.

Love came backed by a full, 10-piece band including horns, drums, percussion, keyboards, guitar, bass, piano, and three backup musicians. It was obvious from just looking at the stage that this was going to be an exciting show. Ms. Love, dressed in leggings and 5-inch spike heels has the voice and energy of a woman half her age. In fact, it’s almost hard to comprehend that she is over 70, and started her career a half-century ago as a member of one of Phil Spector’s girl bands of the 1960’s.

As expected, Love performed holiday songs, including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,”  “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” and “Marshmallow World” (which Raul Malo also performed on the same stage the night before). But Love also delighted the audience with oldies such as “He’s a Rebel” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.”

But without a doubt, the highlights of the show were her two medleys. The first was a Marvin Gaye medley, utilizing the talents of her backup singer Milton Vann. The medley included spectacular versions of “You’re All I Need to Get By,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Love’s obvious joy at performing is infectious. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a happier, more enthusiastic audience. Her second medley was of the songs of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, and included brilliant renditions of “Killing Me Softly,” and “Where is the Love.” Love’s backup singers – Vann, Margaret Dorn, and Ula Hedwig – and true professionals who added to her sound and rounded out the show.

Love received four standing ovations – more than I’ve seen at any Landmark show thus far – and they were well-deserved. She’s got to be one of the hardest-working women in show business. When she puts on a show, it is clear that she is giving it her all and holding nothing back. And the audience clearly noticed.

The show closed with her traditional holiday song “It’s Christmas Baby Please Come Home,” and then she gracefully curtseyed to the audience and her band, and left the stage to the sounds of the audience’s cheers. A wonderful end to a full weekend of music at Landmark on Main Street.