The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Casino Rama, 2003

Fan Reports

As many of you know, Donna did a show at Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada on August 21.  Fans from all over the world turned up for the sold-out show, and a few decided to share their experiences with the rest of us.  So I thought I'd post a few excerpts from the emails here. One thing everyone agreed on - it was a great night!

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(photos courtesy of Alain Léveillé)

From Gareth (again):

I know I've written an account of the concert in Ontario but I've now been home a few days and I would like to share my feelings and thoughts of that marvelous night with you and the other donna fans.

I'm a flight attendant so when I heard about the concert from you I asked my scheduling department if I could request a trip to Toronto on the 21 August. this was granted to me. I worked from London to Toronto. I had brought my closest friend with me. She wanted to be with me as it was so important as well appreciating the classics from the diva.

We arrived into Toronto around 4pm. I decided to hire a limo as it was a night to remember and so I wanted to do it in style. We departed Toronto at 5.30pm. The traffic was terrible leaving the city in high temperatures and soon we were on the highway to Orillia. Approaching the casino there were road works so by the time the limo dropped us off it was 7.50pm. I had to collect the tickets which meant standing in line. By the time we ran to the concert hall doors MacArthur Park had started and I could feel the power of Donna's voice from outside. Three minutes later we had been shown to our seats. I instantly stood up to take in the atmosphere and dance to MacArthur Park. I was the only one around dancing but I didn't care. This was my night and I was going to dance.

The two monitors either side of the stage made it so easy to see Donna and although I was 12 rows from the front I still kept looking at one of the monitors. Next was This Time I Know It's For Real. My friend with me is a big fan of Stock/Aitken/Waterman so she started singing with me.

I kept looking at Donna. She looked so young wearing black trousers, jacket and long dangling ear-rings.

I couldn't believe the next song. I shouted to Suzie my friend its Once Upon A Time but then it changed into Could It Be Magic and I went mad dancing, singing.

Earlier when Donna asked where we all were from I tried to make her hear me England I shouted but to no avail so now I thought I'm gonna scream now. This song was so important to me as I was growing up.

The hits kept rolling off the diva's tongue, not a note missed. It was like she was cruising above the clouds and no one could touch her voice, the strength, the power.

After the disappointment of not being chosen as background vocalists for On The Radio and being introduced to one of her biggest fans Veronica I felt like screaming I am her biggest fan. It was inside of me. when the piano started at the beginning of on the radio the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The tears began to fall. the pressure of getting the trip there, the limo, the traffic, the jet-lag and when I heard the first line of the song I couldn't contain the tears any longer.

Next was I Feel Love and I remember my sister and how she played the vinyl to death.

I Don't Want To Work That Hard, Someone To Watch Over Me displayed the sheer strength of donna's voice. I cant tell you how I was feeling now. I felt I was at peace being here seeing her for the second time (the first was in London in 1987)

I always knew Donna was good at interacting with the crowd from Divas 2000 and the vh1 special but the stories she told us about the new song I Will Follow Love and the jokes made us all laugh about. She looked so relaxed and she was enjoying herself. I could have listened to her all day speak about Dim All The Lights and the story behind it or the 10 minute story of her man leading up to No More Tears - Enough Is Enough.

It was when She Works Hard For The Money started that everyone went mad and I tried to run to the front of the stage but was stopped by security. I felt like shouting I've come all the way from London please. Bad Girls went into Hot Stuff and Donna had brought the house down.

Last Dance for me made the tears fall again. I so wanted to meet her but I hadn't had time in Toronto to buy white roses or to arrange a back-stage pass. This song depicts me growing up and being a mad Donna Summer fan since I was 14.

When the concert ended I felt I had achieved something fantastic. What job would enable me to see Donna in concert in Toronto with my closest friend? I didn't know when she would visit us across the pond so I'm so glad I managed to see her in Ontario.

All through the concert I kept looking behind me and seeing the 5000 people who had come to see this great performer. And what an artist. Thank you for the laughs the tears the joy and the great performance which I knew was going to be second to none.

Gareth Davies

From Anthony:

Unbelievable! Unforgettable!.. and what a laugh!

Those are the only words I can use to describe Donna’s performance Thursday night at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario. After a two hour drive from the city, I finally arrived at the casino and made my way to the theatre. As I was being shown to my seat, I looked around and noticed that the house was packed. Apparently the show had sold out quickly. As I sat there waiting for the show to start, I suddenly realized I had been a fan of Donna’s for 25 years and that this was the first time I had ever seen her in person! I got up and waved to my friend who was seated in the back section and then the lights dimmed. The beginning to MacArthur Park sounded and then Donna came out from right stage singing. She looked good; wearing a black (of course) pant suit and her hair was long and medium brown. The audience gave her and overwhelming response. She performed the long version of MacArthur Park and then This Time I Know It’s For Real. She then welcomed the crowd, asked people where they were from and that she was very happy to be there; this was her first real concert in 3 years and she is part Canadian because her grandparents were from Nova Scotia and she has family in Toronto. The audience loved it! The band then played a short version of Once Upon a Time and then Donna went into a great rendition of Could it Be Magic. Her voice was powerful. After that was I Feel Love. (I hope I get the order of the songs right). She then called into the audience and asked long time fan Veronica Scaglione to come on stage. Donna then picked a few other fans from the audience and invited them on stage to sing backup to On the Radio. Donna took one look at the guys at the way they were dancing, and said “white people are bad! Not all white people, just you!!” This started a whole series of jokes that had the audience in stitches. At times it got so funny that Donna was bent over laughing to herself. At one point she stopped and said, “You can tell I’m having a good time!” It was great to see her so loose and happy and always talking to the audience. It was like she was at someone’s house having a party. Next came the beautiful Someone to watch over me. Then the news. She told us about Bruce’s CD who was on stage singing back-up, her daughter Brooklyn is on the TV sitcom My Wife and Kids, and Mimi and Amanda will be coming out with albums. Then Donna’s news: the book but a CD as well, a compilation of her older material and 2 or 3 new songs including a lead-off single which she debuted that night! I think the song is called I Will Follow Love – it starts off as a haunting ballad and turns into a heavy dance number; classic Donna Summer. I really liked it and so did the audience. Donna then told the story about the Red Ferrari. This is a long but hilarious story which I think some of the fans might have had the privilege of hearing. She was acting very coy and very very sexy during this and she had the audience really going. At one point she stopped and said ”I’m turning myself on!!.” Her sister Mary then joined her for No More Tears. Donna explained that Mary had been working with Donna the longest out of anybody, to which Mary replied” And I’ll be working with you to the grave!” Next came I Don’t Wanna Work That Hard and Dim all the Lights with her Rod imitation at the beginning. Next song up: She Works Hard For The Money – this is where the audience lost it. Everyone got up on their feet and about 100 people ran down the aisles down to the front stage and stayed there screaming and dancing till the end of the show! The Bad Girls/Hot Stuff medley was next with the finale Last Dance encore.

As the concert ended and the crowd exited the theatre, I could feel the overall good mood and effect Donna has on people. People were saying “fantastic, great, what a show! I can honestly say that this was probably the best concert I have ever been to, and no, I am not being biased. Later, as I made my way to my car, I noticed 3 huge limos parked around the venue. I wondered if Donna was in one of them. I wanted to approach, but kept my distance. Then I remembered what Donna said that night: “I don’t do concerts, I do gatherings where we can all be together and have a good time.”

So, Donna I thank-you from the bottom of my heart for giving us not only such a good time, but a night that we will never forget.

Come back soon….

Love, Anthony 

From Toronto Fan:

This is no official review, just a few thoughts before I jump into bed, about 5,000 people, 95% standing up for what was an hour and 40 minute show. She talked more, she was very relaxed., she was like a 20 year old, it was sensational and I have been to about 10 shows, this was her best yet and her audience was going nuts for her. She did mention the book coming out, but no mention of a CD attached to it, but she did mention the greatest hits compilation that would have the extra 2 songs....and that was about it.

All the standards, but long stories and jokes, she was truly amazing, and I was so proud, 1 of the 2 songs from the new album and that was great, starts slow, goes fast...

(photo courtesy of Toronto Fan)

From Gareth:

I flew from London yesterday to see donna in Ontario. She was just superb and worth the flight and travel to the venue just to see her bring the house down. All the famous songs were sung including Could It Be Magic, plus she sang a new song from the greatest hits album due out. No word of the songs from Ordinary Girl, but her book was mentioned plus Bruce's new album. Thought I would tell you I tried to scream out I was from England when she asked where we all came from, but she didn't hear me. Anyway I still had the greatest time and probably was the highlight of my year so far.

From Kevin:

Attended the SOLD OUT show by Donna in Toronto on Thursday Night! And Donna did not disappoint!

She opened the show with MacArthur Park Suite and continued with a mostly Greatest Hits Live show: Could it Be Magic, Hot Stuff, Dim All the Lights, Enough is Enough, She Works Hard for the Money, and This Time I Know it's for Real. She thrilled 6 fans by pulling them to the stage to back her on On the Radio. For an encore, Donna sang Last Dance and Bad Girls.

She also threw in a couple of her lesser know songs, including Don't Wanna Work which she explained was written in Brazil during a sound check and Someone to Watch Over Me. And she premiered a brand new track (which was written for a children's musical) (didn't catch the track title!).

My only disappointment was that Donna didn't perform some of her more recent work: Carry On, I Will Go With You, Love is the Healer, and You're so Beautiful.

Donna confirmed that her new compilation CD out in September will contain 2 or 3 new tracks. She also mentioned her book and various projects by her daughters and her husband's new CD.

Donna thrilled Canadian Fans by declaring herself part Canadian. Both her grandparents are from Nova Scotia. And she mentioned family who reside in Toronto.

Confirming Donna's Global appeal and the loyalty of her diehard fans, Donna chatted with people in the crowd revealing that people had come from all over Canada, America (San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles), and Europe just to see her perform. Donna singled out Veronica from Long Island as a Super Fan who travels all over the world just to see Donna!

Donna's voice was flawless...she didn't miss a note! And her sister, Mary Bernard, who did the Barbra Streisand part on Enough is Enough was amazing (she should be a star in her own right!).

All in all...a great show!!!!

From Mario:

Sorry for the delay to give you my report about the fabulous concert. I just get back from Orillia today. Even if English is not my language, I will try to explain my evening the best I can.

I arrived in Orillia Wednesday afternoon after a 6 hours trip by car from Montreal.
Thursday night, I went to the casino and of course, I put some money in the machines and lost everything.  lol

After that I went to my seat in the 4th row and I had my Bad Girls CD in my hands. I couldn't wait for the concert to start. It was sold out, 5000 people were there. Finally the music started and we heard the first notes of MacArthur Park and then THE VOICE.
And, there she is, on stage....WOW she is so beautiful. My dream is now true, I see her live in concert, But that's not all, because at that time, I didn't know what I was about to live after the show.

Next songs were This Time I Know It's For Real and Could It Be Magic (a wonderful performance).

She also talked about her family and what is going on in her career. She talked about Bruce's CD, her book and the new CD coming out in September, a compilations with 2 or 3 new songs. She actually sang to us one of those songs. I don't remember the title but I can tell you, it was very good. It has all the essence to be a big hit, good sound, good melody. She also said that her daughter Brooklyn will be on the TV sitcom My Wife and Kids, and Mimi and Amanda are working on their album.

She is very funny on stage and I enjoyed every minute of it. She was on stage for about 90 minutes non stop.

She also sang On The Radio with the help of the audience. She picked up 3 boys and 3 girls to go on stage and do the background singers. She gave them a Live And More Encore CD. then, she did enough is enough with her sister Mary Ellen, I Feel Love, Someone To Watch Over Me, Don't Wanna Work and Dim All The Lights.

When she did she works hard for the money, the party was on. People were up everywhere and dancing. Some of them went near the stage to dance. She finished the concert with Bad Girls, Hot Stuff (wow) and Last Dance. It was already over.

But the impossible happened. I talked with another fan, she had two passes to go backstage to meet Donna and she gave me one (thanks to her again). We went in a private room, just the two of us. Few minutes later, she arrived with her husband Bruce.

I couldn't believe it, she stood there in front of me. We shaked hands, she gave me a hug. I was speechless. I can tell anyone now, she is very beautiful, very kind and simple. She signed my bad girls CD and I asked her if I can had a picture with her. She said yes. Guess who took the picture...Bruce Sudano himself. She talks a little bit with us and they left. After that, I met her sister Mary Ellen.

It was time to go and on my way out, I took the wrong exit and the alarm system went on LOL.

I will cherish these moments in my heart forever. A fabulous concert, powerful voice better than ever.

August 21th 2003 will be in my mind for the rest of my life.

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