The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Washington DC 

July 5, 2005

Well, it was a HOT SUMMER NIGHT in the Washington, DC Area last night despite some thunderstorms rolling in and out. Donna was in full force as she strutted on the stage singing her heart out. She opened with "She Works Hard For The Money" being escorted down from the large grand piano by her husband, Bruce Sudano. The crowd was on their feet in seconds flat. She proceeded to go into "Once Upon A Time" of which she said she wrote for her eldest daughter, Mimi. Then she soared into "I Love You" of which she dedicated to the audience. She took a brief minute to catch her breath and chat briefly with the audience and segued into "Could It Be Magic." All the while the crowd was on their feet. then the tempo slowed down as she discussed her situation last year about her father's ailing health and eventual passing. she explained how as a public figure it is tough to have to make so many people happy while being sad on the inside. This brought her to the song "smile" of which she sang wonderfully. However, half way through the song a large, moth, I believe, flew right at her and she stepped back frantically trying to get it out of her face. Once collected, she started laughing saying how she hated bugs then interjected by saying "Good thing I did not have my mouth open!" She handled it with finesse. It was actually hilarious and seemed to fit right into the show. She seemed completely at ease....a real trouper! The beat picked up again and the crowd again was on their feet as she went into "Dim All The Lights." Donna then went into a story about herself as a teenager hearing this voice on the radio singing and how she wanted to do that. then she continued the story by saying she later saw this singer on television and she had this great voice and also a great set of twins. Donna explained that she was unsure of herself as a singer because she did not have this large set of twins. It was cute really....then she talked about women and plastic surgery and turned to the side and said "J-Lo eat your heart out" as she swung her hips to the right. then she said "Just kidding!" It was all in good fun...again she was a real trouper! As I said before, it was hot and humid
and there were thunderstorms looming and she thanked the crowd and she wiped her brow. Then, we got a big surprise as she brought up her "little divas" of which are her grand daughters, and they sang back up for her for "On the Radio" and also in the audience was Mimi.  It was a really sweet part of the show and they were truly adorable. You could see Donna's eyes glow as she coached them to dance and move. They were at ease on stage and were hamming it up. Donna talked about her daughters and what they were up to. Again there was another surprise as she went into "Cold Love" and with this song she introduced her band. They sounded great! As I write this, I hope I have all of these events in order. LOL Of course there was a rousing "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff" medley that drove the crowd wild. Donna also treated us to a wonderful version of "Nights In White Satin" of which she did and amazing job on. She then talked about her 25th anniversary coming up and she told the crowd a funny story about what Bruce wanted for his anniversary of which she could not mention in public. LOL It was really funny, then she told us that she wanted him to sing one of his songs for us as his gift to her. He performed "Lé Imaginé Café"  which was really beautiful! She then reappeared on the grand piano and performed "My Man Medley." Again, as I am recalling this I hope I do not have it out of order.  Next up was Mary talking about a "brutha" named Oscar who stood her up. It was really funny and then Donna reemerged and told her what the Diva would have said to Oscar...."Enough is Enough." Donna and Mary dueted on this song and it was FANTASTIC! Ok now as I recall this may have been where the "Bad Girls" "Hot Stuff" medley came in....anyway, we went NUTS despite the heat. then she left the stage saying her goodbyes....of which we knew she had more in store for us. A violinist came up from the string section and played a beautiful solo and this led into "Last Dance." Donna sang her heart out on this one as if it were the first time she sang it. She was then
escorted up to the top of the piano where she was lifted down and out of sight...in true diva fashion.  Despite the humidity and the storms looming, it was a magical night. I want to thank Duane for getting me the front row tickets! The key moment for me was when I blew her a kiss and she saw it and returned it to me! I struggled to get some good pictures but the ushers kept giving me a hard time...I will see what I have. However, Donna's beautiful smile is etched in my mind forever from last night...A Hot Summer Night with Donna!

- Darrell Russ, Frederick, MD

Donna sold out the Wolf Trap loge last night, except for maybe a single seat or two, and packed the lawn with hundreds more. After a lousy warm-up act, Donna came on with a big ensemble and kept people dancing all night. With heat lightning and storm clouds rolling in, giving a nice breeze but no rain until after the show, she knocked people out with her biggest hits and with a number of lesser-known pieces, like "Once Upon A Time," "Cold Love" and "I Love You" and borrowed pieces (that she improved, of course!) like "Natural Woman," "Nights In White Satin," and "Smile." Bruce did a piece from his album, which was warmly received, but people really went nuts when Donna's grandchildren, and even Mimi, came out and backed her up for "On The Radio." They were really cute and showed some promising signs of diva-hood and showmanship. Donna seemed delighted by the whole thing, and by the huge, enthusiastic crowd, which packed the place in spite of thundershowers that rolled through shortly before the show. My three year old was the youngest fan I saw, and he was transfixed - another convert! This was the third time I've seen Donna at Wolf Trap. All three shows were great, but I thought this was the best. The set was simple, except for an odd Liberace-style piano that Bruce played, up high on a stair-stepped platform, and the backdrop was psychedelic images reminiscent of Donna's beginnings touring with Hair in the sixties. The Wolf Trap Orchestra worked beautifully with her touring band, but it was Donna's evergreen voice that wowed even the cheap seats and proved again that she's the hottest grandmother around! She was 100% "on" from beginning to end and, even after a great show, left the crowd wanting more. If you're going to see the show, stop reading if you don't want to know how it ends (assuming the set & setup are the same). After a great encore Donna climbed the steps to Bruce's grand piano, finally climbed onto the piano and,  in a cloud of fog that seemed straight out of Studio 54, she disappeared down into the piano. It was a fabulous end to a great show and we can't wait for her to return. Here's hoping it's a great tour and that all of you will get to see her, too. 

 - Tom T. Alexandria, Virginia

It was a Magical Mystical Hot Summer Night With Donna!

My First Donna concert ever, she was amazing from the beginning to the end of the show. I'm hoarse now from all the yelling and singing. I was is awe when she appear coming up on top of the piano singing She Works Hard For the Money. Wearing a black dress with this beautiful designs. Now I'm sitting in second row in the orchestra pit. and when she came up close to the stage pointing at me ( I was wearing the Endless Summer t-shirt) given to me by a good friend (Duane) on my birthday. I screamed with joy!!!

Then she sang Once Upon a Time and I Love You. and then Could it Be Magic! I was blow away on how she was sing it. Then went into explaining the cake out in the rain MacArthur Park. Then she talked about her father and the song smile came on. Now I strange thing happen here. during just about in the middle of the song...a bee or moth flew in Donnas face...we thought she got hit in the eye or something for she just jumped and wiggle around. and said I hate bugs. lol we all laughed. but she was ok and played it off very well.

Then she when into Dim All The Lights. Now you have to get ready for this surprise. for her next song she started talking about her family the girls especially Brooklyn, Amanda, and Mimi. And guest who came on stage Mimi and her two daughters and another girl to be her backup singers of On The Radio. Mimi was sitting in the audience.. she is so beautiful. I thought I had seen her earlier before the show started finding seats.

The next song was Natural Woman...she started that as the original then went into a dance version which was really nice. I think will be on a CD if she ever does one in October. Next she brings Bruce out to sing his song Le' imagine' cafe' while she changes.

She comes out sitting on the grand piano and I'm transported back to 1978 Live and More when she does My Man Medley! wearing a glittering dress...she was beautiful! As a matter of fact I kept looking at the stairs on stage and they remind me of the video clip in MacArthur Park where she goes up the stairs towards the end of that song.

Then she goes change again while Mary does the Oscar thing. Donna now comes out in a pants suit White Top Jacket and Black pants and do No More Tears. Then she goes into Knights is White Satin...which she sang beautifully. The Cold Love.. she really rocked on this. But not too many people were into it (what's wrong with you fans)? lol. Then it was Bad Girls and Hot Stuff...then she change her top and had black shirt and pants. And did Last Dance. as we all were dancing singing along she climbs the stair to top of piano and smoke comes out and she descends down the middle of the piano what great exit! you've got to see it. It left me wanting more, more, more! I've got to see her again!

It was hard for me to take pics for they would not allowed.. but I did manage to sneak some but did not come out right, so I have to work out the pics with a photo shop. :(

Now what was on sale:

The Journey CD
Ordinary Girl book
Rainy Day Soul : Bruce's CD
T- Shirts:
The current photo you seen on Delphi ( Black )
Live and more pic ( White Black lines)
Donna Summer Hot Stuff 05 ( kids)
Black Tank top w/ Live and More pic
white tank top ( womens)

I know this is alot Cathy. But I just had to share my first experience. I will eamil the T - Shirts I have.

- Eston

The show was fantastic. The set list looks like it was almost identical to the show that was in Atlantic City. I just looked at the set list for that city and can’t recall hearing anything different from the D.C. show except that she also did “Could It Be Magic.” I was disappointed that she didn’t do “I Feel Love” but I guess we can’t have everything! It was great to hear “Cold Love” live. She really rocked! 

When she first came out on stage (up that elevator to the sequined grand piano) the crowd went wild. She did “She Works Hard For the Money” as she was coming down the stairs, and Bruce and a couple of guys in the band helped her negotiate the stairs in those heels. The dress she wore was stunning on her.

It was fantastic to hear “Once Upon a Time” live and when she segued non-stop from “Once Upon a Time” to “I Love You,” the crowd went wild again. She dedicated the latter to her fans and it was a touching tribute to all of us who have supported her all these years. MacArthur Park (my favorite song of hers) was fabulous, and the string orchestra (which I’ll touch on later) was really great. After that came a beautifully sensuous version of “Could It Be Magic,” also a favorite of mine.

After telling us about being on the road out of the country and getting the dreaded phone call that a family member had taken ill, she talked a little about her father, how he became ill and his ultimate passing, and how difficult it was to be on the road to complete your obligations for shows and trying to be upbeat for your audience, while knowing that a family member needed you. She said it was hard to put a smile on her face and in her heart in the face of difficult times. It was from there that she began a beautiful rendition of “Smile.” 

And it was there that the first mishap occurred in the show . . .

Wolf Trap is a covered outdoor venue set in the woods of Vienna, Virginia,. It was very humid last night, and all the spotlights there always attract flying creatures of all sorts. While she was in the middle of “Smile” she suddenly recoiled back and began shaking her head and running her hands up and down through her hair very violently. The orchestra kept playing but the audience became very quiet for a brief moment. I actually though maybe she had gotten stung in the face by a bee or something. It turns out that a rather large moth (or what looked like a moth) flew right into her face and surprised her and then flew into her hair and she couldn’t get it out. She finally did and then picked up where she left off on “Smile.” When the orchestra got to the instrumental bridge of the song, she looked out at the audience and said “Thank God I didn’t have my mouth opened at that moment!” The audience applauded and she continued the song to its end. It was sung very prettily and with great emotion. Even one of the older fogies behind me who apparently was not a super fan remarked, “Boy she is really good!” I couldn’t have agreed more.

After “Dim All the Lights,” my heart started pounding a little. “On the Radio” was coming up. Was she going to pick people from the audience to be her “Divos”? And of course, me being in the second row in a bright red shirt that she could not miss, I really wanted to be picked! But she didn’t pick anyone out of the audience. She had a surprise for everyone. She talked for a minute about her children, namely Brooklyn and Amanda. She pointed out that Brooklyn was on “My Wife and Kids” until this season and that Amanda was a model. Donna said that she was so excited that Amanda was gainfully employed and that it was a relief that she [Amanda] was a working girl now. Donna then touched on being a grandmother and talked a little about her grandchildren. She said that her oldest daughter, Mimi, lives in Baltimore and that she had a surprise for everyone. Mimi was in the audience with Donna’s granddaughters! Donna then pointed to the center orchestra section and the crowd went wild when they realized that Mimi was sitting there with her two girls! Donna told everyone that this was unrehearsed and she wanted the girls to come up onstage with grandma and be her backup girls. I have never seen any pictures of Donna’s grandchildren and so I was very excited to see them up close. There was also another girl on stage with them who appeared to be a playmate of the two girls. Mimi’s children are both very pretty girls, both with blond hair and bright eyes. Mimi has also grown up to be a very beautiful woman, and it’s clear that she gets her beauty from her mother. Then Donna launched into “On the Radio” and had the girls do back up. It was funny to see these three little girls dancing and singing along! They were all quite good and really enjoying themselves! Donna then went to the side of the stage and pulled Mimi from offstage to center stage to help with the backup. Mimi resisted for a brief second then smiled and took her mother’s hand and walked with her across to center stage to join her own children. It was at that moment that my mind flashed back to the little girl inside the original “Live and More” album cover in 1978 who was standing on stage holding her mother’s hand as her mother performed for the audience. Life suddenly became a full circle.

Donna then started into the story of the “twins.” I had heard she had mentioned her “twins” in Minnesota but was surprised when she started with the “twins” reference here in D.C. She told the story about a famous female singer that she admired who she recently saw again after a long time and was shocked to see that this woman had these “enormous twins.” She said they were so big they almost didn’t look real! Donna then proceed to tell the audience that her “twins” were indeed real and she was proud of them. There were whispers and giggles through the audience of who the mysterious woman with the “twins” might be that Donna was talking about. Could it be Dolly Parton? It was right then when Donna mentioned that she was all woman and that her “twins” were natural that I knew then that she was talking about Aretha Franklin (who does have a hideously large bosom and shows way too much of them in garishly bad fitting costumes). All I could think about at that moment was that Donna the Cat DID have Claws! (Reeowwwrrr!) But it was really all in good fun. Donna then launched into a fantastic rendition of “Natural Woman” and everyone just loved it. She began it as a ballad and then just before the end of the song sped it up into a slightly danceable version. It was very well done indeed. Donna should really consider recording this. She’d have a big hit on her hands with this one!

After “Natural” Donna talked about her upcoming 25th anniversary to Bruce. She talked about her marriage being a tempestuous one, with ups and downs and hills and valleys and how she loved her husband very much. Donna said that she and Bruce talked about their anniversary, and said he asked her what she wanted him to give her as her anniversary gift. Donna then did a pause, looked coyly at the audience and said that she couldn’t repeat in public what she told him! The audience giggled and laughed at that. She then said she loved Bruce’s music, that he was a beautiful songwriter and would love to have one of his songs as a gift. She then introduced Bruce, whom she said was very shy about performing in public. Bruce came onstage while Donna went offstage (to do another costume change) and Bruce then sang Lé Imaginé Café from his CD. It was a good song and a good performance. 

After the applause for his performance Bruce went back upstairs at the top of the stage to his glittering piano where his wife was waiting for him. Donna had changed into a sparkling gown and then proceeded to do the “My Man Medley.” The performance was great and had the identical tone and energy to the original recording on the “Live and More” album. The audience loved it. 

After the “Medley” Donna went back off stage again, and this time the spotlight was on Mary who proceeded to do her “Oscar” monologue (talking about her boyfriend Oscar who didn’t show up for a preplanned date). Mary said to the audience that Oscar stood her up and that he didn’t know it, but Mary had tickets to the greatest concert of the century – two front row center stage tickets to “the Donna Summer show!” She then went on about how it was his mistake and that it would be his last. There was the sound of a ringing telephone. She picked it up and said “Hello?” My mind instantly flashed to “The Hostage” and I half expected the voice on the other end of the line to say, “Lady, we’ve just kidnapped your husband . . .” But then I snapped back to reality. It was Mary’s girlfriend “Yvonne” (clearly Donna offstage) on the line, and Mary proceeded into this tirade about Oscar and how he stood her up and she had these two great tickets to the Donna Summer show. “Yvonne” then said, “Girrrrrrlll l, I’m dressed and ready to go! Who needs him!” The little monologue between Mary and “Yvonne” kind of reminded me of the little monologue at the beginning of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

Then the second mishap of the show came forth . . .

When “Yvonne” comes on stage, she says, “Girrrrrlllll, I’m dressed and ready to go!” Donna was standing onstage about a third of the way down the staircase, obviously ready to make an entrance to show the audience that she had a new outfit on and was “ready to go!” However, the lighting technician missed his cue. Donna just stood there for quite a few seconds and finally had to say, “Hellooo!!!! Mr. Lighting Man! I’m over here!!” The crowd laughed and the lighting technician I’m sure was embarrassed that he missed his cue. Donna and Mary then proceeded to be the dueling divas on “Enough is Enough,” which was clearly a crowd favorite. 

After “Enough” Donna talked a little about her early career in Germany and the productions she did in “Godspell” and “Hair” and that when she was in Germany doing these shows, there was one song that played a lot on the radio that she really liked and hoped to do someday. She then proceeded to do a fantastic rendition of “Nights in White Satin.” It was great to hear the song with an orchestra and flute player. As I said, Donna did a great cover of this, though she sang it in a lower register than I’m used to hearing her sing, and it was interesting. I think some of the big notes would have been a little more powerful if she had sung it in her middle register, but I’m not complaining. It was a great cover!

She then proceeded to do a great version of “Cold Love.” I have never heard that sung live and it was a real treat for me. Clearly many there were unfamiliar with the song, but that didn’t stop me. I was up on my feet dancing to it and singing along with her and she looked over at me and smiled, and hopefully appreciated that I knew the song and was clearly enjoying it. And I was. I’ve been a fan of Donna’s since I was 14 years old (I’m 45 now) and I know the lyrics to EVERY song she's ever recorded!

After “Cold Love” Donna introduced the members of her band. When she introduced the orchestra, I was surprised to learn that they were from the Wolf Trap Symphony Orchestra (our venue where she was playing), and had been hired to play with her during her DC gig. When she said “give it up for your hometown orchestra” the crowd cheered wildly. I finally got to see who Nathan DiGesare was when she introduced him and I secretly telepathed a message to him to get the new website up and running soon! [Note: I see today, July 6th that the site is live and online! Whoohoo!] 

Donna then launched into “Bad Girls” and then “Hot Stuff” and whatever crowd had been lost during “Cold Love” instantly woke up and the whole place was simply electric. The crowd was on its feet and the energy was simply contagious. Everyone sang and danced to those two hits. Donna then said goodnight to the audience, who would not let her go. They clapped and stomped and chanted, “Donna! Donna! Donna!” And it got louder and louder. 

Then the Concertmaster from the Wolf Trap orchestra stepped forward, took center stage and began to play a beautiful solo piece. It was then that I knew that The End Was Near. “Last Dance” was coming up. Donna emerged wearing another beautiful costume and began the song. The audience roar at that moment was so deafening that I’m surprised Donna could hear her music cue! Then of course everyone danced and danced to that song. As she was singing an repeat of the last verse, Donna proceeded back up the stairs to the top of the stage, stepped behind the glittering piano, and then began to be surrounded by lots of smoke. Then, just then the song ended, Donna threw her head back, raised her arm and mike into the air, and descended down the elevator into the huge cloud of smoke. 

And then, just as quickly as it all began, it was over. It was thrilling, fantastic and wondrous. In short, four simple words said it all: A Magical, Mystical Night.

- Duane Haneckow, Washington, D.C.

I was at Donna's concert at Wolf Trap and enjoyed reading the reviews of the other fans that were there. I have something to add to the "bug story." I don't know what it was that attacked Donna during "Smile," but it might have been the same thing that attacked me a few minutes earlier. I was in the third row, so maybe it traveled up on stage. Whatever it was, it was big and buzzing. I had a very similar reaction to Donna's, except I wasn't onstage in front of thousands of people. She didn't miss a beat! I won't duplicate all the other comments, but I want to add that I really enjoyed hearing Bruce sing. I found out about his CD through your web site and I have really enjoyed his music. Donna's granddaughters were precious. I may have missed it in the other comments, but I don't remember seeing that Donna referred to them as DIT's or "Divas in training!" They were priceless.

I'm glad the monsoon rains held off until after the show because those people on the lawn would have been soaked. Those were brave folks to be outside with lightning in the area. Hats off to them! That was some of the worst rain I've ever driven in and add to that the fact that I was driving on unfamiliar roads at night and it was rather stressful.

- Marcie G, Cumberland MD

 

The Merchandise:

I asked Duane to do me a small favor and check out the merchandise table for me, so he came back with this list and pictures.  :-)

I checked out the merchandise as you requested, and there were indeed a couple of new things there. Here’s what they had for sale:

The Journey

The Book

Bruce’s CD (yes it was there and I bought a copy)

The black shirt with the promo picture on front and dates/cities on the back

The white one with the black trim on the neck and sleeves that had the “Hot Stuff” pennant that you mentioned

What was new were the following:

A white t-shirt with the famous Live and More Scavullo picture, except it wasn’t a photograph but rather more of a black silkscreen design. The back of the t-shirt just had the word DONNA in black right below the neckline. But here’s where it gets cool -- They had that shirt in that style AND they had another identical white t-shirt with the black silk-screened picture except her lips were done IN RED SEQUINS! How cool was that!!!! Of course I just had to buy it! 

They also had a tank top available in black with a sepia tone of the Scavullo picture (and again on the back it just had the word DONNA) and here’s where it gets way cool again…instead of the lips being in red sequins, they had a necklace around her neck coming down into a crucifix, again IN SEQUINS! It was great!! I have attached photographs of those two shirt types so you can see how it looked. They also had a new item, which I did not buy because it was for a woman (and no I don’t do that type of dress up!!), but it was a black camisole with what looks to be a little lace on the top, and right down near the waistline it had the words “Hot Stuff” in small red sequins as well. Very nice. The only thing I was disappointed about was that there was no souvenir program book.. That would have been really nice. But I can’t wait for the DVD of the tour to come out!

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