The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Mystic Lake, MN 

June 26, 2005

Donna Rocks Mystic Lake

Summer definitely got a little hotter last night as Donna kicked off her latest tour in Minnesota!  It’s always fun to hear the familiar tunes, but it’s an even greater joy to hear tunes that I’ve never heard Donna do before.  My review is not to give away ‘all’ the surprises, but share a couple of highlights with you --- oh, faithful ones!

The TWO hour concert kicked off at about 7:10 p.m.  No comedian (thank, God) and no warm up act.  The orchestra (yes, a 10 piece string section, plus brass) kicked into a medley of Summer favorites.  At the anointed moment, Donna arises from the depths of the stage sitting on a throne and launches into “She Works Hard for the Money.”  The crowd goes wild!!  She then proceeds into a couple of songs from “Once Upon a Time.”

She talked about her family --- nothing new here.  But she did say that “My Wife and Kids” was cancelled, so if anyone had a job for Brooklyn --- see her after the show! To honor her father she sang “Smile” and it was gorgeous.  Then it was on to more hits.  And for “On the Radio”  she picked three men who could neither dance, sway or sing,  but they were funny and Donna lovingly teased them “See, it’s not so easy, is it???”

Now this was my 5th Donna Summer concert and this contained some of the raunchiest material I’ve ever heard her do. She did this whole monologue about her boobs!  She said she always wanted a set of ‘twins.’  Just like the Minnesota Twins!  It was very funny, but quite shocking.  Call the deacon, Donna has left the church!  All the boob talk was a segue into “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”  And she really torched this song.  It would be nice to have a recording of this.

Next was the biggest surprise of the evening.  After 25 years of marriage she had finally convinced her husband to sing a solo during one of her concerts, so she could take a quick break.  So Bruce came out and did “Le Imagine Café.”  He has a great voice and he really poured his heart into the song.  It was one of the highlights of the evening.  He could have easily done a couple of songs. 

Not to be hyper critical (since this was the first concert of the tour) but the first half of the concert lacked energy.  Also there were some miss cues with the band.  The conductor is someone I don’t know and have never seen at a Donna concert before.  It was a little difficult to follow his beat, but I assume all this will get tighter as the tour progresses.  Also, Bruce Sudano plays the grand piano at the top of the stage for almost the whole show.  He plays the music for memory and really gets into it.  The guitarists are Randy Mitchell and John Billings – they really shine in the second half of the show!  Nathan DiGesare plays the synthesizers.

After Bruce’s solo, Donna appears at the top of the stage lying among some pillows on Bruce’s piano in a slinky dress and starts singing the ‘My Man Medley.’  Then she disappears into the night.  Sister Mary (who I have always loved) takes the spotlight and does a great comedic turn on her no-good boyfriend, Oscar.  He’s a real ‘weiner.’  Now the sparks start to fly in the show.  Donna (fresh from another costume change) and Mary battle it out in ‘Enough is Enough.’  Mary really shines here!  As does Donna!  Then Donna goes into more hits.  Then she talks about her illness in Germany in the early 70’s and how this song helped here during that dire time --- “Nights in White Satin.”  Psychedelic lights and all!  

This was a tough crowd for Donna.  Since it was in a casino, all the best seats were given to the preferred casino customers( the over 65 crowd)  and not the mad cap zany fans.  I ordered my tickets the hour they went on sale, but I was off to the side in the 10th row.  :-(  It was hard for Donna to feel any energy from the crowd, since the casino customers don’t dance or clap along.  This is certainly the most ‘Las Vegas’ styled show that she has done in the last 10 years and once the orchestra tightens up – it’s going to be an amazing show.  I wish that I could see it at the end of the tour in Las Vegas, as opposed to the opening night in Minneapolis.  As always, Donna, we love ya! 

P.S.  This concert has the most songs that I’ve ever seen Donna do!  Gotta love that!!

- Doran, Minneapolis

Just wanted to say I enjoy your site and went to the Donna concert tonight at Mystic Lake and of all the times seeing her it was my favorite! She was just great! She had a great entrance and sang all the songs you would hope for and then some! Why on earth doesn't she have a new album?? She sang great versions of "Nights in White Satin", "Natural Woman" and the song "Smile " She was really "chatty and funny." She also did a awesome version of "I Love You." Her husband Bruce also sang a song off his new CD which was really good and I will be  buying!  Well I am off to read the Lavender article. Don't miss this concert if it comes to your city!

-Geoff, Minneapolis

Well I just got home from one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. Donna was amazing last night. She had her full band including strings and a brass section. at the start of the show the band started to play a medley of her hits and then she came out opening with She Works Hard For The Money followed by Once Upon A Time, I Love You, Could It Be Magic. She joked around for a while about her twins ( her boobs) that was totally funny . then went into taking about her dad who pasted away and sang Smile which at the end got a standing ovation. can't remember the order of songs but she sang Dim all the lights, I feel love, Bad Girls, Hot stuff, My man medley, Knights in white satin, natural women, Try me, love to love you baby, MacArthur Park, Last Dance. oh and Bruce even sang a song from his album during which Donna went for a costume change. she was saying that this year its there 25th anniversary together so she let him sing a song from his album. In all it was a good show to a sold out crowd can't wait to see her again in L.A.

- Robert

I thought I'd send you the complete list of songs as I didn't want to give too much away on ES.

She Works Hard For The Money
Once Upon A Time
I Love You

Banter, where are you from, jokes about her age.
MacArthur Park {in great voice}
Could It Be Magic {very sexy, sexy dancing by Donna}
The story of her fathers passing, then Charlie Chapman's Smile it was great!
Dim All The Lights
On The Radio

Banter, jokes of Diva-dom. Talks about falling in love. "Snackety-Snack" she calls Bruce
More about her breasts, the twins!
Natural Woman
Talked about her family, joked how Brooklyn was looking for work!
Bruce sang Lé Imaginé Café from his CD, Rainy Day Soul
My Man Medley
Jokes with Mary about a boyfriend Oscar, then Enough Is Enough
Nights In White Satin
Try Me
I Feel Love
Love To Love You Baby
She introduced the band and Nathan DiGesare.
Bad Girls
Hot Stuff

Said "night every-one."
1 Encore:  Last Dance.
She was stunning in tight fitting gowns and beautiful hair. Should be one Hot Summer!

- Bill, (obilyplz)

*** It Was A Magical Mystical Night ***

Donna kicked off her "official" 2005 tour last night at The Mystic Lake Casino (located 30 miles South of Minneapolis) in Prior Lake, MN. My friends and I traveled 400 miles from Omaha, Nebraska just to attend this show. Believe me, it was worth it! Donna performance clocked in at close to two hours with four costume changes. The evening was filled with several magical moments, a technical glitch, as well as a few musical hiccups.

Let's start at the beginning:

The Celebrity Palace Theater located inside the Casino seats roughly 2,300 people. The venue was at capacity. We stumbled upon several friends from the DS Forum while waiting for the doors to open. Donna's appearance at Mystic Lake coincided with PRIDE weekend in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Donna face was plastered across the Twin Cities, she was featured on the cover of the local gay rag (Lavender). I will not take the time to share the details of the interview because you can read it online. Note: she talks about her relationship with Giorgio.

There was a buzz in the lobby, but not the excitement we expected. Upon further investigation we discovered that it was coming from the merchandise booth. Apparently there was a typo on the new t-shirt (featuring the new publicity photo). The tour schedule printed on the back of the shirt states Prior Lake, MI. That's MICHIGAN folks.....instead of Minnesota. Many people found this quite amusing, but it did hurt sales. Note: Unfortunately, there is no tour book; only the T-shirt ($30), the Journey CD ($20), and her autobiography ($25).

It took quite a while for people to file into the theater, which delayed the start of the show for 15-20 minutes. The stage was amazing; three-tiers with a Grand Piano as the centerpiece - covered with glitter - and a mirrored dicso ball directly above it. I questioned if Donna borrowed the set from Liberace's estate! The descending staircases looked like piano keys; the string section on stage right, and the horns on stage left. 

The overture began and the crowd cheered with delight. Donna arose from what looked like the center of the piano and began to belt "SWHFTM". She wore a beautiful, black strapless dress that accentuted her voluptuous figure. At the piano was none other than Bruce! Next was "Once Upon A Time" and a very strong rendition of "I Love You". Musically speaking - there were a few noticeable mistakes during these two songs. I'm not sure if it was the band, the background singers, or Donna herself. Just a few missed queues. All I can say is, it's early. By the time the show arrives in your city, it will be more polished! 

At this point, Donna thanked everyone for coming and explained the rules for the first-timers, "to simply sing along and have a good time". The band began to play the intro to "MacArthur Park" and the audience cheered again. We were treated to the long version! Yipee. I have seen Donna twice before, but have never heard 'Could It Be Magic" in concert before - amazing! Donna poured her heart & soul into this one.

Magical Moment #1 

Donna performed "Smile" and it was quite moving. She introduced the song by describing how she was called home when her father fell ill while touring in South America.

Next, Donna asked for three men to join her onstage and I cringed. "On The Radio" is not my favorites and I honestly think Donna should drop it from her show. However, this turned out to be quite memorable because the three "white guys" had no rhythm at all. Donna showed them how to Do-Whop and even said "just act like your black!" The crowed roared with laughter. This was followed by the "short" version of "Dim All The Lights".

The introduction to "Natural Woman" was very memorable. Donna shared her story about being lucky enough to be born with twins, and "not having to buy them" like some other women. She clutched her chest and made reference to "these twins" and "the twin cities". The audience was howling! Donna claimed her twins to be natural......and the song began! I have never seen Donna this sexual before, I am still in shock. 

Magical Moment #2

Donna shared a very personal story about her relationship with Bruce, stating that it is indeed a tempestuous relationship at times. The audience was completely entranced at this point. She mentioned they are celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year (and 27 years together). Then, Bruce took center stage and sang "Le Imagine Cafe" while Donna did a quick costume change. Note: Bruce has lost weight. He wore a fitted shirt - white with a black design - and was in fine voice! 


Donna posed seductively across the piano, equipped with toss pillows and sang her "My Man Medly". Donna wore a silver sequinned dress that was quite lovely. There is a new introduction to "Enough Is Enough" with Mary chatting on the phone to her friend Yvonne describing her experiences with Oscar. It works! Donna appears in another new outfit (black pants and a white jacket) and they begin to belt! Note: Mary Ellen looks fabulous!! Love the hair hon! Next, "Night in White Satin" followed by a melody of "Try Me" and "I Feel Love". 

It was during the above numbers that I noticed the problem with the sound system. It sounded as if Donna was singing into a tunnel. The musicians and background singers overpowered her. There was clearly an issue because Donna motioned for one of the crew after performing "Love To Love You Baby". btw - the arrangement of this song is perfect, it's reminiscent of the original single - well done!

The concert seemed to lose momentum at this point. The theater was stuffy, the air was not circulating and Donna appeared to be a bit overheated. She was actually drinking water between verses of songs. Just as I started to get discouraged, things turned around. The band began to play "Cold Love" (and the sound problem was apparently fixed) and Donna demostrated renewed enthuiasm as she tore into the song! The crowd finally rose to it's feet during "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff". 

Magical Moment #3

A violinist (gent) from the string section took center stage and began to play without accompaniment - it was quite beautiful. I was hoping this was anoverture into "I Will Go With You" - but alas, it was a new intro for "Last Dance". Donna emerged wearing another beautiful dress - my personal favorite of the evening. All I can say is "Grrrrr".

For many years I have been reading about the "casino crowds" on Cathy's website and the Delphi ES forum. I can now offer a personal testimonial - Yuck!!! Nevertheless, it was a good show and it will only be better once the kinks are worked out. 

- Mark M, Omaha, Nebraska

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