The November 2004 Concerts
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|The crowd as near sell-out and full of fans old and new. There was even a bunch of "disco bunnies" who dressed the part and added
a lot of pizzazz to the crowd. Her band included the usual suspects, but also some string players. The started the concert off with an overture of her greatest hits, with each song, the crowd, already on their feet, roared their appreciation. Then Donna appeared as the beginning melody of
Could it be Magic began. The crowd went crazy as she launched into this 1976 Donna classic.
Donna looked fabulous. She wore her trademark black suit and her tousled
red-brown brunette wig with long bangs. She looked like she had slimmed down from her
Ordinary Girl book appearances of last fall. She then launched right into the fast version of
Dim All the Lights that kept the crowd on their feet. Then, the band started playing the opening bars to
Love to Love you Baby. Donna turned to band and shook her finger at them, ala "scolding" them..
She then thanked the crowd for coming out to see her and told the audience how glad she was in Reno as she used to own a place in nearby Lake Tahoe. She also said how good it felt to be back on the stage and perform "for real" in front of the public, as she said she has only doing private concerts recently. That was the cue for
This Time I know its for Real . She quickly followed that up with
MacArthur Park, the "full" version with the bridge (I thought of you Cathy!) which was stunning.
She then made some jokes of herself, about growing up a "poor little black girl" and how life is full of ups and downs. Then, the band started playing the opening bars to
Love to Love you Baby again, and again, Donna gave her band "the look". She said she would do song for the ladies in the house and launched into her
Live and More "My Man Medley". I felt like I was back in 1978, listening to Live and More album - she sounded just as good - 26 years later!. It was a great moment.
Donna mentioned how she was from Boston and that the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 80 plus years... and how she also got to sing at the World Series. She then asked for some audience male audience members to help her out with the background vocals for
On the Radio. She warned them not to sing her part, only the "oh, oh, oh, oh" part. The three guys were hams - singing and dancing to the microphone as well as with Donna - they and the audience was loving it, as was Donna. In fact, she had the whole audience singing the "oh, oh, oh, oh" part.
Donna then got personal as she informed the audience that her father was just admitted into the hospital right before she left for her West Coast
performances. She said that in these times of trying personal experiences, music was her salvation and with that, she started to sing a song she thought Charlie Chaplin sang,
Smile. It was a poignant moment and she sang her heart out with that song. Donna should seriously consider doing an album of classic pop and jazz standards - she would blow Rod Stewart out of this world.
After Smile, she talked about getting through past romantic heartbreak and quickly launched into
No More Tears - doing the Barbara intro, but basically singing the song by herself with the help of her background singer. Donna followed that up by
singing her tribute to Ray Charles, Georgia on My Mind. She spoke about how great the recent film and lead actor (name?) was and how she was fortunate to work with Ray Charles in the past. Then, the band again started playing the opening bars to
Love to Love you Baby. Donna again gave them a "don't go there" look. It was another hint of what was to come.
Donna then brought the crowd to its feet again with She Works Hard for the
Money, her tribute to all of the women in the crowd, including herself. At some point, she also spoke about how she was a hard working mother, and she spoke fondly about her daughters, aspiring singer/songwriter Mimi with husband Rick and two children living in Baltimore, Brooklyn acting in My Wife and Kids (she plugged the show), and Amanda who was modeling and would soon appear in a Ralph Lauren? ad.
She then spoke about how she had won six Grammys in Pop, Dance, R&B, Gospel, and Rock, and with that she launched into one of the biggest surprises of the evening,
Cold Love. I nearly died - I could not believe that I was hearing Donna sing
Cold Love, live - 24 years after its release. Before singing it, she also confirmed its introduction by checking with Bruce (who sang background) that it was from
The Wanderer album (which happens to be my favorite - tied with Bad Girls). She ROCKED with
Cold Love. Wailing, swinging the microphone in the air above her like a true rocker, Donna ROCKED. While most of the audience wasn't familiar with it, those that were, including me, acted like lunatics, standing up, hands in the air, screaming!
She quickly followed that surprise with Bad Girls and Hot
Stuff, which got the crowd back onto its feet, roaring their approval. She then went directly into another 1976 classic,
Try Me, (I was happily stunned) which transitioned into I Feel
Love. She then thanked the crowd for coming then left the stage.
With the crowd roaring and screaming, the opening bars to Love to Love You Baby began and this time, she let the band play on as she came back onstage and sang her first worldwide hit song. She did not back away from it and instead, embraced it wholeheartedly and asked the audience to sing along with her. She made
Love to Love You Baby, her anthem of love and thanks for her fans and her audience. Donna came full circle and instead of a intimate "love" anthem between
oneself and someone special, Love to Love You Baby became Donna's declaration of love for her fans and audience. It was a magical moment as the crowd sang along with her. Again, she thanked the crowd and left the stage.
But everyone knew there was one more song to hear before the night was complete and Donna did not disappoint as she came out to sing
Last Dance, with the entire crowd, all on their feet, singing, clapping, on cloud Donna. It did not stop after the song ended and she ended up doing the last refrain again for the audience. With the end of the refrain, the band said their goodbyes, the lights went on and the crowd filtered out in total Donna heaven.
I am sure I will remember more snippets of this incredible evening. I will let you know as they come up. I am so glad that I made the 500 mile journey to see her. As Donna said before in her
Live and More album, it was a "magical and mystical journey through time and love --- its what we've been waiting for".
Thanks for letting me share.
Stuart (from San Francisco)
|Just wanted to send you a note saying how FABULOUS Donna was last night in Reno!!!! Ok, FIRST of all, I DID NOT expect her to sing
Could it be Magic or the My Man Medley BUT, when she sang
Love To Love You, I almost had a CORONARY right there in my seat!!!!! We KNOW how she doesn't perform that song and this was quite a shocker to say the least. During the course of the concert, the band kept teasing with the song by playing a couple of notes from the song. Donna would turn to them and say
"Stop it. You guys just stop that." Then, after about half the concert had played, she stepped offstage for a moment and the band began playing the song again, only this time the song began playing further into the vocal intro. Then, Donna stepped out and began singing it! I thought she was just going to do a couple of verses BUT NO, she sang the entire song, even putting in a couple of groans! She sounded EXCELLENT, almost like I was listening to the recording. The crowd went WILD! She was absolutely PERFECT last night. Of course, we know she is!! She made the WHOLE concert look effortless to her and then I stopped and thought to myself, " Well, of course she did stupid, she's a Goddess!! "
William (from Loomis)
|Photos from David (from Sacramento):
for a larger version.)
|OK, let me start off by saying I have seen Donna eight times now, spanning 1979-2004. I was skeptical about Reno because it was a "casino" crowd. But when Cathy, who I bow down to as the Queen, recommended I get in touch with a guy named Hector to share my 10th row center seats,
there was magic in the air.
When I saw an orchestra assembled, as well a Donna's band, I knew there was even more magic. They effortlessly performed the overture, as Donna had no opening act. They did the same overture as Carnegie Hall, but I must admit the current orchestra was superior. The overture led to Could It Be Magic, which Donna nailed flawlessly and with powerful voice. After a little audience banter, she led into the dance version of Dim All the Lights,
again getting everyone moving. After proclaiming herself as "THE REAL THING". "hint...Ashlee and Britney), Donna did "This Time I Know..".
Donna continued to exchange family and personal stories with the audience before singing the epic MacArthur Park. Donna then moved into the "my man" medley which was so perfect and
caricaturized that it was 1978 all over again. Donna then decided to pick 3 guys to be he back up for the On the Radio, but the guys were more into showing off their wild dancing then being Donna's back up. Actually, Donna was somewhat annoyed by their antics, but continued along to finish the song. Donna then revealed that her father had been hospitalized right before the show, but that she felt obligated to continue her life with a "smile". This led to her version of Charlie Chaplain's "Smile." People were crying because they knew Donna was hurting for her father. Donna intro'd No More Tears with a story of how a woman meets a "man" and then "he" takes over her life. Donna threw a few intensive looks at Bruce as she told her story.
Donna then paid a tearful tribute to Ray Charles who had just passed away. After explaining how she came to love Ray Charles as a child, she did an AMAZING version of "Georgia on my Mind" Donna was perfect!
After "She Works Hard", Donna took the time to introduce the band. Where Donna
normally took a break and let Bruce into the band, Donna did it herself. She surprised everyone with a "rock and roll" edition of Cold Love from her "The Wanderer". Of course, Donna did HS/BG/LD before deciding not to go faster.
The biggest change, besides adding LTLYB, was that Donna slowed the pace of the show, adding a lot of personal stories, funny commentaries and audience interaction. She constantly told us how happy she was to be with us, and that we were the best fans in the world. Having seen Donna many times, I must say she made her most personal connection this time. She was funny, she was touching, she was down to earth....the "real thing" and "just an ordinary girl making her way in the world" (which were direct quotes). I think she was taken aback by how many hard core fans were in Reno versus a typical casino crowd, and when guys in the audience collectively yelled, "we love you Donna", she was genuinely moved. On a funny note, when the crowd chanted "Donna, Donna, Donna"...Donna joined in the chant in a humorous way! She also joked about how hot it was on stage and if she were to faint, she hoped someone in the audience would catch her! A few songs later, she was so hot on stage she said "it's so hot in he-e-e-e-re" and she chanted the word "here". It was really funny. She even joked about her weight...she said "when the stock market went up, so did my buns! now it's time to go back down." On a human note, early in the show she said she had not performed in public in quite a while, and had been doing only a few private shows. She told the audience, "I've probably changed a lot since the last time you saw me, and I want to tell you why." She talked about her daughters in detail. Donna was so human and engaging! I loved it. This was a new Donna Summer, comfortable with herself, her image and for the first time, proud of her accomplishments and talent!
- Rich (stolen right off the Endless Summer board)
Rich also sent me these pictures from the show:
|Click any image for a
|Pictures from an anonymous fan who wishes to be credited
(There is always one guy who doesn't want his boss to know WHY he
took off from work! LOL)
|Click any image for a
|Fierce. Funny. Loving. Playful. Emotive. Confident. Relaxed. All of these
words would describe the concert that Donna gave tonight at the Pala Casino
near Temecula, CA.
Having no intention of chasing another "greatest hits" concert, a friend of
mine surprised me with an early birthday present to see my "idol." And after reading some of the reviews from the Reno concert, I suddenly felt
energized and excited to see what was up. So we made our way from near Laguna Beach south towards San Diego. After we exited the 5 Freeway and
began our trek on this narrow and winding, two-lane country road, I had little hopes of much of a turnout on a Monday evening in what seemed like
the middle of nowhere. I was wrong! Suddenly there was this HUGE casino (at least it seemed huge in this dark oasis) with all of the glittery lights
and a fair number of Monday night gamblers.
Cut to the concert (after pigging out on the all-you-can-eat buffet), we
filed into what was more or less a huge banquet hall that was already more
crowded than I had expected. The stage was adorned by, I would guess, a 12-piece orchestra, plus three brass, a drummer, a percussionist and two
guitar players to be joined by Bruce, Mary and another back-up singer—the
biggest ensemble I have ever seen support Donna. Scheduled to start at 7:30, the lights dimmed at about 7:45 or a little later and the intro medley
began. Not exactly the most uproarious crowd I've ever seen, (more of a typical casino crowd) there was a fair number of "fans" in the
audience—again, more than I had anticipated. All in all, a near sellout.
Donna began with Could it be Magic (a curious opener in my opinion), when
the voice quickly overcame the bustling room and people were suddenly transfixed on this legend center stage. Dressed in her tuxedo suit, she
looks pretty much what we have come to know as of late. Although she is quite heavy, her face was radiant and beautiful. Paired with the voice, I
knew that this was going to be a magical experience. (This is only my seventh time to see her unlike some of you have have logged double-digit
concerts.) I don't remember the exact song order, but I believe that after
she kindly greeted the audience, she dove into Dim All the Lights. By now
if you've read the Reno accounts, you know the song listing. So here are
"Smile." Oh my God! This would make the most ardent dance fan beg Donna to
do a standards album. Trust me. It was a tour-de-force. It will be a crime if she does not record this song.
"Mac Arthur Park." MY ALL-time favorite song. My friend next to me was just shaking
his head, "How does she do it?" Amazing and effortless—absolutely no straining to
hit ANY of the notes and hold them. Tonight's version made the Live and More Encore
version pale by comparison. Or, for that matter, any previous rendition I've heard except
the studio recording.
"My Man Medley." All you had to do was close your eyes, and I swear, it was
1978, Live and More all over again. You know how we all hear that Donna's
voice has aged and deepened? You'd never know by listening to her rendition
of these three classics. They were probably even better than on the live
recording—not kidding. I heard several comments around me, "what a voice!"
"I can't believe her voice!" etc., etc..
"Happy Birthday." To all of the people celebrating birthdays—three of them
were brought on stage after a near riot of birthday folks rushing to the
stage to join Donna. Literally, the security guys were telling Donna to stop egging them on. After that, she segued into On The Radio.
"Con te Partiro." OK. Some guy yells out something, and Donna says, "The
jelly song? What's the jelly song?" She deduced that he was asking her to
sing the Andrea Boccelli song. And after begging off, she started singing
(in Italian) the ballad version. The band glided in, and the audience fell
quiet. Although she couldn't remember the whole song, it was great just to
hear a few bars. What a welcome surprise!
"Georgia on My Mind." Soulful. Somewhat restrained. Her eyes closed for
most of the song—I think Ray woulda been touched as well as Jaime Foxx.
What a plug for the film! Again, people were stunned.
"No More Tears." Probably my least favorite Donna hit; I have to give props
to Mary (I think it was Mary looking trim with straight, long hair). She
rivaled Donna on this one. You could tell that people didn't know who she
was, but were blown away by her pipes. She sounded more like Donna than I
have ever heard before.
"Cold Love." I do completely believe that now ALL things are possible! I
would have never guessed that I would EVER get to hear what is one of my top
five favorite Donna songs, live. She intro'd it by saying that she set out
trying to win Grammys in every category and that she had won six—one for
best rock performance. (Is it just our little secret that she's only won
five? Let's not tell her. Or, am I wrong?) Anyway, I was in bliss. I coulda lived without the horns on this one, but she was having so much fun.
I've never seen her have so much fun—the whole night. She actually seemed
like she was really enjoying this entire set. She was very fresh except on
She Works Hard for the Money.
"Hot Stuff." After giving Bad Girls the Divas 2000 update, the band segued
into the all too familiar romp. I have never seen Donna, since say, the AMAs in '81 give such a salacious and playful rendition. I would think
Bruce might get jealous of the guitar player! She and the band really milked it.
"Try Me..." Just hearing the band start that intro, I felt like I was in a
dream. And yes, she sang it breathy and all. The band absolutely nailed the arrangement. It sounded like a mixture of the original recording and
the Live and More version.
"I Feel Love." I don't know—something came over me, love I guess, and
suddenly, I was dancing with some girl in front of our row—swaying our
bodies and hands. It was Live and More all over again. (At this point, I
don't think the audience thought there was anything left for Donna to do...)
"Love to Love You Baby." Yes. Hell did freeze over again. This song is
now probably more of a spectacle just for the sake of being a spectacle.
It's just more than bizarre to hear this song playing live with Donna playing to the crowd.
Devoid of any real sensuality—as previously stated; Donna makes this more of a
love-the-crowd anthem. I think she did coo a little bit here and there. I have to really give her props for dusting this off and giving it a more proper
context for who she is now. I mean it would be ridiculous to see her at 55,
moaning and humping a mic stand.
After (about) and hour and 45 minutes, she ended with Last Dance—by far the
longest Donna concert I've witnessed.
Overall, there were times when you'd look at her, and you realize how much
time has passed. You realize all of the ups and downs—the joys, the disappointments, the setbacks. You realize how much time has passed in your
own life. You realize how many people have come and gone. You look at her
face. You hear the voice. You close your eyes, and she takes you to another place—where it's still magic and we're all still very much alive and
so much more...
Russ (stolen right off the Endless Summer board)
PS: She said, "I'll see you next year..."
|On Monday November 15, 2004 at approx. 7:46pm, Southern California was rocked by a major magnitude-Donna at the Pala Casino. The only reports of damage was located at the Casino after Donna's performance brought down the house!
The show began with Could It Be Magic then it followed with Dim All The Lights. Donna spoke to all her fans telling us the she felt soo good to be back on stage and said "Nothing excites me more than to hear all of you scream" The SOLD OUT crowd then went wild!! Before she started her next set of songs she told the crowd "Tonight it's not about me, it's all about you so if you fell like dancing, singing, screaming, whatever then feel free to do so because tonight is your night" Then she started with This Time I Know It's For Real, Then followed MacArthur Park and My Man Medley.
Donna then talked about her family and the success of all three daughters and told the audience that her daughters are trying to out do their mother and taking the spotlight from
her (Don't think that will happened anytime soon Donna):) then Donna was trying at one point to be a stand up comedian she was telling the crowd "Does anyone remember the
stock market going up? When the stocks went up so did I (and she pointed at her hips) the crowd started laughing. A fan in the crowd shouted "You're Still Beautiful" and the crowd agreed with the fan and started cheering for Donna! Donna said you are all so wonderful " I Love All of You" The same fan shouted out " We Love You More" and again the crowd agreed with the fan and again started cheering for Donna! You can tell that Donna was overwhelm by the love and support of her fans.
Things got a little crazy when Donna asked who's birthday was it so she could invite them on stage to sing Happy Birthday. A storm of hands went up she tried to pick a few people but things got out of hand when two guys jump on the stage towards Donna her bodyguard and Donna's husband Bruce rush to Donna's side to calm
the two fans down and peacefully remove them off the stage. Donna replied "Boy I didn't mean to cause a war" The head security told Donna she could not have anymore fans on stage due to her safety. Donna
apologize to the fans and the few that were able to get on stage Donna sang Happy Birthday to them and allowed them to be the background singers to the next song On The Radio. She asked the background singers to dance side by side (they were all white) she replied "I can see a little color in your movements" the crowd laugh. Donna then said " I've seen alot of white people that can actually dance, Britney Spears is
one (thank god Donna didn't say she could sing) J/K to you Britney fans.
After On the Radio, she briefly spoke regarding her father's trip to the hospital. And how she almost cancel her tours out here. But said in times like these when you don't know what to do just smile and she started to sing Smile. Then it went into Enough is Enough with her duet with her sister. Then she talked about the movie "Ray" and if anyone who hasn't seen it let me come over to you and smack you
silly (jokingly) She said she cried during the movie and two days after the movie. Donna was touched by Ray Charles and she started singing Georgia. then followed She Works Hard for the Money. Then she told the crowd that she got a grammy in the rock category so I guess I can sing rock she said and started singing Cold Love. Then it went into Bad Girls and Hot Stuff. The crowd went WILD!
During the show a fan shouted to Donna that she could not understand what he was saying. Donna said I can't hear you. The fan shouted again. Donna thought he said jelly. She
said "what do want to know about jelly? The fan shouted again and Donna heard and said OH you are saying Andrea Bocelli. I thought you want to know about jelly, what about him? the fan asked her to sing the song from him. She said she couldn't because the band didn't know the song and she forgot the words because
it has been awhile since she perform the song. She asked the conductor if he knew it, someone played the song on keyboard Donna was humming the tune in her head and out of know where Donna started to remember and began singing I Will Go With You" Con te Partiro" she only remember about a minute and a half of the song but it was soo beautiful and it was a special treat for Donna to add something that was not even rehearse in the show. The fans gave Donna a standing ovation for doing that. Then Donna went into Try Me and I Feel Love.
The night was caught by surprise after years of rumors that Donna will never perform this song in concert again. The one and only Donna Summer perform the entire song Love to Love You Baby. The only
difference in the song was she took out the groaning and replace it with words. But it worked and Donna played it off very well. The Donna concert would not be complete with out the grand event closing song Last Dance. The night was a great welcome to
Donna and to the fans. She said we were wonderful and she will be back next year. There is one thing that I have to say when Donna was telling us those silly jokes. Donna said to us "There is always a bit of a clown expected from a Diva"! Thanks Donna for a Night to Remember. See you next year!!
Luis (from the O.C.)
|My name is Ramon D, I am a Donna Summer Mexican fan who now lives in Los Angeles. I want to tell you about the latest concert that Donna Summer, our Donna, had at Pala Casino in California where I went to see her from Los Angeles...
Let me tell you that the place was full at its maximum capacity. Everybody was expecting Donna... Cars from all over came to see her, some of them from Mexico... Let me tell you that I was very excited because today was the FIRST time I saw my Diva, my Donna Summer!!! I She was so close!!!
The Show was about to start at 7:30 pm, but it did so until 7:45 when de orchestra start playing an intro with some of the most famous songs of Donna including SUNSET PEOPLE. Then She came out and start singing COULD IT BE MAGIC. She wore a black suit, pants and Jacket. Then She salute all of her audience and start singing
MCARTHUR PARK, NO MORE TEARS, ON THE RADIO, THIS TIME I KNOW IT'S FOR REAL, MAY MAN MEDLEY, COLD LOVE, TRY ME I KNOW WE CAN MAKE IT/I FEEL LOVE
She was happy on the stage, She was laughing, making jokes with her audience. She also sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY for some persons who were there celebrating their birthdays.
The special songs were:
- CON TE PARTIRO, She didn't singing completely but She did it beacause we asked her to do it.
-Then She sang SMILE (this Song She told us She wanted to singing it for a very special reason: her Dad was in the Hospital and She was about to cancel the Concert but She didn't because She thought in all of us, all of her fans whom were expecting to see her. And each time when She feels bad about something this song came to her mind: SMILE. This was the first time I heard the song and it was beautiful. I hope her Dad will do it Ok.
-She also sang a tribute to Ray Charles, She said that She went to see the movie and that She cried for two days, because Ray Charles had had a lot of influence on her, the song she sang for him was GEORGIA ON MY MIND (Amazing!!!!, Wow!!!!) (She would record an Album with these kind of songs! Please!!!)
The people got crazy, including myself, when She sang BAD GIRLS and then HOT STUFF
The funny part came between songs when the guitar plays some notes from LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY and She said 'Stop it', 'Not That Song!" And at the end She came out with a different wardrobe to sing LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY!!! Just before She ends the concert with her traditional LAST DANCE.
So, I don't know what else to tell you: Donna Summer was ESPECTACULAR!!! She sings better than ever!!! We need a new Album!!!!
Regards to everyone and remember Donna is forever!!!
Ramon D. (from Los Angeles)
||Click any image for a larger version
|I saw Donna last night in Pala, and she was wonderful! The set list was the same that you listed. There were at least 20 other musicians on stage, including strings! It was great. People were really excited and screaming, too.
She was beautiful and funny and very chatty. She mentioned everything her family is up to project-wise, but nothing about herself! I was on the verge of screaming-"NEW ALBUM PLEASE!!!" I should have, as she responded to a lot of the screams from the audience.
I was too far back for her to hear, though.
Brooklyn plays Vanessa on "My Wife And Kids", and another daughter (Mimi?) has a jeans commercial in
Europe that will be over here soon. She also had 3 people come up on stage and sang happy birthday to them (although it was a little scary at first, because she wanted to bring up everyone with a b-day, and a huge crowd started to rush the stage, and one guy hopped up in the middle and they had to eject him).
Security told her she couldn't bring up that many, so she picked 3. She (and the audience) sang happy bday, and she let the 3 people stay and sing the chorus to On The Radio!!!
She was very funny and engaging and poked fun at herself. She mentioned her weight gain by saying she starved for so many years, that she HAD TO EAT! She was starving! Everyone laughed and cheered and screamed that she was beautiful, which she was.
She sounded great and was very entertaining and got everyone off their feet. " Cold Love" was great!
She was well worth the pricey ticket (although the venue was not) and I would love to see her again anytime!
Go if you can!
And someone scream out "new album" and see what she says!
Shannon (from San Diego)
|Although I am not one who has ever written a "concert review" I am compelled to do so about the show at PALA CASINO last night ( which actually moved me to tears at times, especially when it came time to say goodbye to her at the end). The show last night is permanently engraved in my mind as the most awesome/ incredible live performance of Donnas I have ever seen since 1979.
The crowd ( people of ALL ages) was taken by her incredibly powerful and most
bell like clear voice.
She is so relaxed and confident (so nice to see remembering how sometimes she seemed a little uncertain in the past). When she did the tribute to Ray Charles (Georgia) and sang Smile (for her Dad in the hospital) we were all stunned by her voice,
I was waiting for the acoustical ceiling panels to start coming off !
Her voice is in the best condition EVER! And now I just hope that as a fan since 1979 she will put together a new CD for us to enjoy!
Jim (from Ontario, California)
|‘I had so much fun the last time I was here!’
Warm, playful, gracious, this describes my night with Donna. Well,
mine and a few hundred more. Phoenix, AZ., Celebrity Theater, November
Celebrity Theater is a 3,000 seat circular auditorium. It’s billed
as Phoenix’s most intimate venue. Which is nice in one aspect, you
really do get an up close experience with the entertainer. However when
you’re 6’ 4’’, seating can be a bit awkward. I was thankful I
had an aisle seat because I didn’t feel like doing yoga during the
The show seemed to start a little late, because people were still
filing in at 8:00. I’m sure that people thought Donna would have
another comedian. Eventually the crowd got in and the theater was filled
about 3/4. It’s very odd to see variation in age in the crowd. It
varied from the 20’s well into their, ahem, not quite twilight years.
The music started to play and people rose to their feet not realizing
it was a medley of Donna’s music. Most still stood during the entire
song even if it seemed a bit long. Just as I was moving the roses from
under my seat to the empty seat in front of me Donna walked by! I looked
up and she was on stage! I was sitting right next to the ramp on the
stage and I missed her! Anyway, the medley finished up and moved into
Could It Be Magic. Donna quickly had the audience mesmerized by the
seemingly effortless clarity and strength in her voice. They approved
with thunderous applause. Donna was wearing her black pant-suit. For
those who are concerned, for lack of better words, Donna is obviously
working on her figure. I thought she looked fine. Some men in the
restroom didn’t seem to mind it at all! Bunch o’ freaks!
Donna was in a very appreciative and expressive mood. She thanked us
and went on saying, ‘It’s been a long time since I was here.’ (99)
‘I had so much fun the last time I was here.’ It’s true, when
Donna was here for the ‘Encore’ tour there were times you could
hardly hear her sing because the sell-out crowd was drowning her out.
After the crowd and Donna going back and forth appreciatively, she went
into Dim All the Lights. After that she gave us an update on her
daughters and their life/career paths which led us into This Time I Know
its For Real. After the song the bass player teased us with the Love to
Love You line. Donna did the scolding routine and playfully moved on.
MacArthur Park was the first song to unite everyone in standing and
actually having a better time. The audience seemed split on whether they
should sit or get up and dance. The staff was also not very encouraging
making people stay out of the aisles-whatever! However this song
encouraged most to rebel and get up. It was a nice treat to have the
horn and string section especially in this song.
It was great to have Donna just relaxing and talking on the stage.
She was joking around about how her age and how she looked. She made the
joke of God said they’re gonna be dark, but they’re gonna have good
skin. People were surprised (in a good way) about Donna’s candor and
appreciated her poking fun at herself. She then started talking to the
ladies in the audience about…choices. And how everything women do is
for ‘He’. ‘He says he wants to go to the football game, so
he does and you sit at home alone.’ She said a couple other
lines referring to men in general as ‘He’. She went on saying how
women, especially the younger, should try to avoid making mistakes,
because she had made many. That was the queue to start My Man Medley.
Like the earlier reports indicate the performance was like stepping back
in time. After the song she mentioned that that song was on her Live and
More album, she then confirmed with husband Bruce who agreed. Insert
your own memory joke here, I can’t remember any myself. LOL
Donna mentioned her performance during the World Series. She
mentioned that when she was younger they never had any money to get
inside to see a game. Then she joked how she walked out on the field
because they were there to see her and how envious everyone was. After
that she started picking some women out of the audience to be back up
on, On the Radio. Women! I wanted
to sing! One awkward
moment is when one girl walked up to the stage during the choosing
process. On girl walked up to the stage and just started rambling on
about something. She had got Donna’s attention and was trying to
understand what she was talking about. Donna said that she couldn’t
hear very well because of the ear pieces she had in to hear the music.
Eventually the girl got the message across that she had given Donna a
hold horseshoe necklace or pendant in Las Vegas. Donna’s response was
a warm thank you, but you could tell she was thinking ‘Oh Lord, help
me!’ Regardless, Donna asked her if she wanted to join her on stage
and sing. The girl took off running back to her seat. Can you say weird?
Donna just flipped around on stage and said, ‘Oh well, I guess not,’
in a snotty joking tone and went on with the show. Oh well. This part
really was funny. Donna was making sure that her singers had rhythm,
because Caucasians can’t always dance. ‘I know, I’m married to
one,’ she joked. Donna
turned around and the music started. The funny part was that the ladies
were still going back and forth at the same pace which Donna had started
them at. They didn’t stop. They didn’t bother get in time with the
music, just back and forth like they were listening to their own
song-even the Non-Caucasian! Once the up-tempo began, two of the three
were fine, but there is always one.
Smile, beautifully done, was a song she said she sings to herself
when she feels like she’s hit bottom. She said it is always important
to keep a positive attitude. This was her thinking after explaining of
her father's current health situation.
Donna went back to the theme of ladies and the choices they make. She
was joking about when you fall in love you’re stuck, but sometimes you
can get un-stuck. Sometimes you make the choice that Enough is Enough.
Donna sang the song with Mary. Georgia on my Mind was Donna’s tribute
to Ray Charles. She mentioned the movie, Ray, and said there were about
5 times during the movie that she cried that didn’t even provoke this
response. She said it was just her realizing that he was gone.
Everyone was back on their feet with She Works Hard for the Money.
This song was ok to me. The arrangement seemed clunky. She introduced
her band, most of which seemed new, or I just didn’t remember them
from before. Although I do remember her long time band member, lead
guitarist Randy. His hair is long now and he’s sporting a stache and a
soul patch. He’s looking quite Metalica-the early years. LOL.
Donna did mention her Grammy’s, but didn’t mention the amount
this time. She pointed out that she was qualified to sing rock and roll
because she won a Grammy for the category. She then went into Cold Love.
I though this was a fun song, but lose the horns-too Vegas. You could
tell people weren’t too familiar with it, but it went over well
Once again, that bad bass boy started into the infamous notes and
before your know it we were on our feet singing Love to Love You Baby.
Donna was all smiles and having a wonderful time. During the song
Donna explained this is how I feel about all of you, a very touching
full-circle moment. Donna sang the song like it was recorded without
getting into the moans. She held the mic out to the audience during the
break-down. It was a lot of fun. Before you knew it we were launched
into Bad Girls and Hot Stuff. Two crowd pleasers that threw everyone
into a frenzy. At that point she left the stage. Can you believe people
were actually leaving after that?! HA- HA! Not I. The beginning of Last
Dance started and people ran back to their seats. Donna did a quick
change into a leather trench and she was back on stage.
People were rebelling again and ignoring the no camera rule that
was announced before the show began and snapping away. People danced in
the aisles and everywhere else they could. As Donna left the stage for
the final time, I gave her two dozen yellow roses and shook her hand.
Now I just need to get a picture with her. My friend got some pictures
of my giving Donna roses, but I’m sure her back will be toward the
camera. But hey, this is all about MY experience-right? LOL. The card I
had in the roses fell out. I asked one of the security people to please
take it back, but who knows if he really did. In case he didn’t,
I’ll try to recapture the moment.
I’ve limited the words to say
thank you on the space of this card. However the abundant gratitude I
have cannot be measured. Your spirit, voice, and integrity in your faith
have inspired me. I hope the peace they have given you will be mine. May
God continue to bless you and your family. P.S. A speedy recovery for your father.
Thanks Donna, we had a great time!
|All I can say is two words, " Donna Rocked " ! The concert was fantastic. I am using my roomie's laptop from Phoenix to write to you so that you will have time to get it into your website before the weekend. I was two feet from the stage. Unfortunately, due to security everywhere, I wasn't able to take a single picture. She looked incredible. She really worked the dance floor with song, dance and comedy. She opened up with Magic. She did her usual favorites like, " Bad Girls, Hot Stuff, She Works hard for the Money and Last Dance " for the finale. I was so excited that she did songs for the Live and More Album. She said she decided so pull out some of her old stuff she hadn't done in years. She sang, " My Man Melody, Try Me, Cold Love, and last but not least, Love to Love You Baby. " Donna had the crowd going wild when she started the first note. She came over to my section to hold her mic over the crowd to let them sing. I was on my feet dancing and singing and she came over and held the mic right at me. She let me sing, " I, Love to Love you Baby," pulled it back to her and said, do it and again and let me sing once more. What a Birthday Gift to get to sing with the Greatest Diva alive. She also sang," Smile." About half way through the concert she made an honorable mention to the late, great, Ray Charles. She sang a wonder rendition of " Georgia . " She also made the comment that her children were all grown now and working and the she could focus on here carrier again. She also mentioned a tour next year, but that was all she said concerning that. I had a great time and this has to be the Best 44th Birthday anyone could have.
Charles S (from Charlotte, North Carolina)
|The show started @ 8:30 PM a 1/2 hour late but that's O.K. as alot of the audience were late arriving. It was a sellout crowd
and a rather rowdy one at that! Well if that includes my chanting of DONNA, DONNA, DONNA ! (LOL)
Anyway, seems like the show was basically the same as at the other venues except for the song order. She moved
Love To Love You Baby up a few songs right before Bad Girls / Hot Stuff rather than doing it as the last song before Last
Dance. Once again like at the other shows she played up to the audience joking around alot in between songs and
even showing her sexy side a little bit! The band sounded great (and included a 16 piece orchestra) which when introducing
them Donna said " these guys I don't know but they are helping out" she then thanked them for being there! All in all it was
an excellent 90 minute plus show with a nice flow to it. Afterwards Veronica, Will and I went backstage for a meet and greet
with about 25 other people which was a blast we spent about a half hour just hanging out with Donna, Bruce and Mary Ellen
talking about past shows in the "good ol' days and how this show reminded us of some of those shows. We all mentioned
to Donna how much we loved the way she did "Smile" and "Georgia on my Mind" and she said she would like to record a
"standards album" sometime. She also mentioned a new tour starting after the first of next year but nothing about a new CD.
Kevin O. (from Phoenix, AZ)
|What more can I say about the "magical, mystical night" in Phoenix on November 17th that hasn't already been said. The crowd was rowdy and loud, including myself, and we all gave Donna great feedback as to how much we were enjoying the concert.
I must say Donna has trimmed down since I saw her last time in '99. She looked beautiful! She was more relaxed, even playful, and she seemed to have enjoyed herself with the audience. I was pleasantly surprised to see five violinists in the orchestra pit. Along with her band and the sound system, everything was perfect. Even Bruce seemed to be having fun--at one point, he ran to the stage with a hand-held battery powered fan, switched it on, and pointed it at Donna's face to cool her down. It was so cute!
Like the '99 Live and More Encore tour, I shall never forget the wonderful time I had. The whole evening can be summed up by what my group of friends had to say at the end of the concert: "Celine who?" "Barbra who?"
- Bryan (from Phoenix, AZ)
|I travelled to Phoenix to see donna from London and after 11 hours
I was in Arizona-lovely and warm and very tired!
I was sat behind the orchestra and directly behind Bruce and the other background
singers. The order of songs was exactly as mentioned by the other fans.
What really hit me was the feeling of the celebrity theatre. You felt like
Donna was singing in your own sitting room. It is a small theatre compared to others
I have been to. I do doubt whether it is a 3000 seater as one fan wrote.
I thought it was more like a 1000 seater.
Waiting for donna I could see all the scores to Cold Love, Could
It Be Magic and when the string players arrived I knew it was going to be a special show as for me the string
section, the 70's disco era and Donna are what I really love!
All the songs were fantastic and all brought back memories for me but the highlight had to be love to love you baby which
I have never seen donna sing live and I am so grateful for that.
Ultimately it is the Donna voice which makes me travel around the world to see
her (yes I am more devoted than veronica from new jersey) but it also the persona of
Donna which is appealing-the jokes, the Capricorn sense of humour, the way she lets the crowd participate in
the show. As Donna said at the beginning of the show, it is for the audience and she executes that perfectly.
Every time I see her she gets better and better and hearing cold love was just
Thanks to the crowd for the great atmosphere and to the only diva in my life.
Gareth D (from the U.K.)
|Click any image for a