The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Cathy's Soapbox for April 2000

[Divas 2000, Boston Nemo awards, and Taihisha's Boston Nemo performance]

[APR 12] First of all - I'm BAD! I said Donna got shafted in the finale when I reviewed the Divas taping. I was wrong. I don't know how I missed Donna's singing when she came out - maybe I was still dishing the thing Mariah was wearing (not wearing?) with my friends and I missed it. Sorry about that guys.

On to what aired. VH1 did a great editing job - they cut 4 and a half hours down to just over 2 hours and they lost a lot of the junk without sacrificing any of the gems. Donna's songs were kept in the first hour and she RULED the broadcast. I know I'm biased - but she really did. (If you haven't seen the show yet, you HAVE to tune in for Love Is The Healer if nothing else. I LOVE that song! And if you will permit me to be a whining fan again - Hey Sony, you REALLY missed the boat on that one!!!) As far as the broadcast vs. the taping, I would have to say that Donna and Faith came off about the same live as they did on TV. I found RuPaul and Destiny's Child to be more enjoyable on TV than I did in person (although I still wish Ru would have been given a chance to show off his sense of humor.) And Diana Ross was more enjoyable to me on the broadcast, probably because the endless retakes from endless mic problems was cut out. (By the way, VH1 did a good job of combining the video from the problem plagued takes with the audio from the good takes.) As for Mariah, in deference to the fans who love her - I will say nothing.

Now I would like to quote a few of the reviews I have seen of Donna's performance:

NY Daily News: ....Summer put the most energy into her Supremes cover. Her creamy voice proved the perfect vehicle for "Reflections."....None of the original material by the featured singers lived up to the Motown Classics....with the sole exception of Summer, who deserves a tribute of her own. That would sound good even if everyone showed up in sackcloth!!!!

From an Indianapolis paper: Diana Ross was in exquisite form, easily outshining backup players Faith Hill and Mariah Carey. Only Donna Summer, also in a supporting role, really seemed to belong, displaying a full-bodied voice that is among pop music's most underrated. .........The rest of the evening offered sporadic pleasures. Summer earned an instant standing ovation just for showing up, then blew the roof off with Bad Girls.

NEW YORK (Variety) by David Sprague: Donna Summer, however, struck a fine balance between sexiness and sincerity: She stood out as the only performer who didn't lose momentum between set changes, maintaining the same heat on her own ``Bad Girls'' as on a cover of ``Reflections.''

Reuters/Variety newswire: The grand dame of disco herself, Donna Summer, was greeted with a thunderous ovation, suggesting that she might be due for her own tribute soon. She ripped into "Bad Girls" before doing a version of the Supremes' "Reflections" recast in the dance-rock groove of Summer's "Hot Stuff."

NY Review by Deborah Walker:  Summer earned an instant standing ovation just for showing up and then blew the roof off with "Bad Girls."

USA Today: Summer, looking and sounding as vibrant as she did in the '70s, evoked her disco heyday with a sultry, sassy rendition of Bad Girls, then ventured further back in time with her forceful take on The Supremes' Reflections.

Explaining her choice of a cover song backstage, Summer said: "Diana let us pick whatever song we wanted, basically. To me, (Reflections) really represented a moment in my life, and it was a turning point in the kind of music they were making then."

LI Newsday: Donna Summer came off best, injecting some straight-ahead showmanship on the Supremes' "Reflections (Of The Way Life Used To Be)" and her own "Bad Girls"...

Let the celebrations begin!!!!  :-)

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[APR 10] Ok, I said I had my spies in place for Divas 2000, but I went one better than that. I joined my spies. :-) Thanks again Stan, Diana (no not Ross - geez what kind of connections do you people think I have? LOL) and thank you Christine for making us move to other seats. :-)

First of all I have to explain that the show was filmed out of sequence so what I saw will not be in the order you will see it on TV. VH1 filmed all of Mariah's solo songs first, then Faith Hill's, then Donna's then Destiny's Child, Rupaul and of course Diana was last - however it was pretty obvious by the introductions that the performances will be mixed up. There is PLENTY of editing for VH1 to do because the show was something like 4 and a half hours long and that has to be condensed to 2.

The show started about 8 with Mariah Carey doing a medley of Love Hang Over and Heartbreaker that strangely threw in a few lines of Love To Love You. I believe this will be the actual opening number to the broadcast. She did a few other songs, none of which impressed me much - mainly because I'm not a Mariah Carey fan. The audience seemed to like her though.

After a break to change the band, Faith Hill came out and did Love Child (one of my favorite Supremes songs) and 2 songs of her own. I've never really followed Faith before, but I was impressed with her voice. She was definitely my second favorite performer of the night. (Can you guess who took first place with me?  LOL)

Then there was another break to change the band and that's when Christine found us and made us move to seats up front. (Hmmm…. That sounds like she held a gun to our heads or something. LOL Believe me - she didn't have to twist any arms!!) So we found ourselves right up front, just in time for Donna's set. I'm gonna tell you right now that since the show airs tomorrow, I'm not going to bother describing clothes and hair. You will see for yourself tomorrow anyway, and with any luck I may be able to get a few screen captures for you. (Keep your fingers crossed - I'll be using new software and hardware, so I may not know what I'm doing yet! LOL) As for Donna's performance, what can I say? She ROCKED!!! :-) She started with Reflections which was awesome (even if it wasn't It's My Turn…… no, I'm not bitter…… LOL ) Then it was a quick costume change and Donna came out for Bad Girls and Love Is The Healer. She introduced Love Is The Healer with a cute story about seeing Diana Ross in concert while Donna was still living in Germany. In my completely unbiased opinion (yeah right, who am I kidding? LOL) Donna's set was the best one of the night. (Diana WHO? LOL - I'm just teasing. You Diana fans don't have to hunt me down and kill me. ;-) ) She also seemed to get the best reaction from the audience, and before you all ask those especially loud screams you will hear came from my spies. Hey, I never said they were under cover…… ;-) NOTE TO VH1: - I know you have a lot of editing to do, but you better keep in EVERY SINGLE NOTE Donna sang! (Or else I'll send a mob of angry Donna fans to your doorstep! LOL)

After Donna came Destiny's Child. I'm not really familiar with their stuff, but their performance was enjoyable enough. And after them came (everybody say LOVE!) RuPaul doing I'm Coming Out. (Or was it Ru and then Destiny's Child? I'm sorry - I got very little sleep last night! LOL) RuPaul was okay too - but to be honest I prefer to hear him goof around on the radio or on his old VH1 talk show. He didn't get to show his sense of humor at Divas unfortunately. (Just a sidebar here: Hey Ru - when are you going to come back to KTU to STAY? I miss you on the radio!)

And then making a grand diva entrance was Diana Ross - and believe me she was every inch the diva. She sang 3 songs solo to start out, Touch Me In The Morning, Endless Love and I can't remember the name of the third. Then she did I think 2 songs with the Supremes, one duet with Mariah and a finale of Ain't No Mountain High Enough with the whole cast. And last she did an encore of I Will Survive, but I don't know if that will be for the TV broadcast. Ok, a couple of notes here. Diana had to do several retakes because of mic problems that she seemed to handle like a pro. They must have switched her mic 4 or 5 times before they gave up and stopped the taping while the problem was fixed. During the break Diana stayed out on stage and posed for her fans. Now I know Diana Ross has a bit of a reputation and some of you guys were expecting something to happen. Ok stop those thoughts right there! Diana had nothing but nice things to say about Donna. (And I'm gonna sneak in an "I told you so" right here just because it's my site and I can! LOL  I TOLD YOU SO!  :-Þ ) In between songs, Diana talked to the audience quite a bit, gushing over her fans, etc. I personally found it to be a bit much, but then you have to understand that I'm only a casual Diana Ross fan. I'm sure her diehard fans were in heaven.  (Hey, if Donna had bee given that much stage time I know I would have been in heaven - and Diana fans would probably have been bored.  LOL) There was one thing that sort of annoyed me though (well, one thing other than the technical problems that caused the retakes) - that was the finale. In particular, Donna's part (or maybe I should say non-part) in it. Diana started Ain't No Mountain and one by one brought out the divas. She sang a few lines with just Mariah, then a few lines with just Faith (who WAILED!! Go Faith!) and then when Donna came out - she didn't get to sing any of the lines with Diana. Hello?? Everyone I know of was dying to hear Donna and Diana sing together and it didn't happen. I'm not happy about that part of it and if I'm not mistaken, there will be a few other disappointed people too,

All in all, after 4 and a half hours, I think VH1 got enough footage to make one heck of a show. Now let's see how they put it all together. I can't wait for tomorrow night! (Hey VH1 - how much to buy the outtakes?????  ;-)  )

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[APR 18] Correction: In my Boston report below I stated that Channel 25 News called Donna a "no-show." I have since found out that they retracted that at the end of their news broadcast. My apologies to Channel 25.

[APR 16] So much has happened recently that I didn't get to keep up my Divas 2000 Soapbox for the customary "until I'm sick of looking at it" amount of time.  LOL  So I have moved the Divas report to the news archive. Now for those Taihisha spies out there - this report is on my whole Boston trip, so scroll down a little to get past the Donna stuff.  (Don't worry - I marked where you should start.)  ;-)  By the way, my brain is still fried from my vacation so forgive me if I ramble.

I arrived in Boston on Thursday, just in time to attend the Boston Music Awards. (And I have the headache to prove it!  LOL  BEFORE you crucify me - my headache was caused by a combination of the sound system and the other acts. I'm not dissing Donna. You can put the rotten tomatoes away now.  LOL) As you know if you read the news section, Donna lost out on Best Single (to one of the ex-New Kids, now THAT hurts!) but she did get Best Female Artist on a major label. There was one small snag though - when the Best Female Artist award was presented, Donna was still at her hotel getting dressed. So not only was there no acceptance speech for that, the presenter (Jordan Knight - another ex-New Kid. ..God, they are everywhere!) explained Donna's absence by saying she was "sick or something." I admit the guy had to say SOMETHING, but in this case he just (inadvertently) added to the confusion. Fortunately, Donna was on hand by the time the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented (by none other than Ruth Pointer) and she gave a very gracious acceptance speech which was followed by a live to track performance of Love Is The Healer. Donna rocked - but it was NOT her crowd. Unfortunately she was stuck with a theater full of hard rock fans who probably didn't know or care who Donna Summer is. Many of them seemed to be there strictly to see a band called Godsmack. Anyway, although it was announced that Donna would sing 2 songs she ended up doing only one. That was probably a wise decision.

Other than Donna's performance, I found the Boston Music Awards to be.... well... boring. I'm not familiar with the local Boston music scene so I really didn't know anything about 95% of the artists being honored. The sound system needed work - they had the bass turned up so loudly that even songs I might otherwise have enjoyed were almost painful to experience. The audience was restless, talkative and in some cases under the influence of whatever and I found the theater to be hot, cramped and just generally an uncomfortable place to be.

On the bright side though, Donna did get some good publicity from the Awards. She got some very favorable comments from at least one local news station, plus a positive mention in the Herald. Only Channel 25 dropped the ball, declaring Donna a no-show. (Hey channel 25 - maybe you should have stayed for the whole show? Donna was the tall woman getting the Lifetime Achievement Award - one of the very few women performing that night. <rolling my eyes>)

I spent the better part of the next 2 days exploring Boston and shopping. I rediscovered that Boston is no place for a couch potato like me. I walked my legs off and I am STILL sore as I type this. (Hmmm...... wonder if that's a good enough reason to call out sick from work tomorrow?  LOL) Then Saturday night I went to a small "club" in Cambridge to see Taihisha perform.

[Taihisha fans should start reading here.....   LOL]

I guess the best thing to do is tell you about the Nemo Music Showcases, for those who don't know. The Nemo people selected something like 200 local acts to perform in 23 clubs over 2 nights. If you do the math, that's not alot of stage time for any one act. And some of the "clubs" are not actual clubs - they are places that were adapted just for the night. In Tai's case, the "club" she played was actually a small VFW hall in one of the less scenic areas of Cambridge. Now when I say small - I mean that when the place was packed, there were probably only about 50 people there. And there was no actual stage - just a section of floor that was designated as the performance area. And the best part - when the doorman stamped my hand so that I could come and go as I pleased...... the stamp said "FAXED."  I swear!  LOL  (Tai - this is gonna make a great story for some interview when you're famous!  LOL)

Fortunately I wasn't there for the ambience. I was there for the music and there was plenty of good local talent on hand. Which brings me back to Taihisha. She sang 3 songs for us, starting with her upcoming single Lil Things. (Shameless plug: watch for it later this year.) I have to say Tai lucked out with the crowd because her audience was a heck of a lot more receptive than the Awards crowd Donna was stuck with. Despite a few minor sound problems, Taihisha rocked the house. She's got a good strong voice (must be in the genes) combined with a very good stage presence that should be the envy of some of those wannabe divas that currently curse the music charts. (Yes I know that was mean, but pop radio disgusts me...... but I digress......) Talking to Tai after the show she said that she felt totally at home on stage - like she was in her living room instead of onstage. And you know what? It shows. There is nothing like a performer who is enjoying what they are doing.

If I had to make any changes to Tai's show - I would have opted for 4 slightly shorter songs instead of only 3 slightly longer ones. I think that 4 four minute songs would have given Tai a chance to show off her range a little more than 3 five minute songs did. But that's just me. People with longer attention spans might  disagree.  

Overall, I'd have to give Taihisha an 8 out of 10 (10 being the best of course). Actually I could give her a 9, but she lost a point when I discovered that the check she sent me was missing a crucial zero.......  ;-)  But seriously - all you "spies" should be proud.  :-)

� 2000 The Donna Summer Tribute Site

 

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