The Donna Summer Tribute Site

California Fan Reviews 

June 2006

Viejas, San Diego June 25

Pretty much the same show as Vegas. A good show overall. Donna did wear a new gown that I haven't seen in photos before. A black rhinestone floor length gown, that was pinned to one side. Very elegant.

The concert nazis were enforcing the no camera rule and making people sit when everyone wasn't standing. That got on my nerves real quickly because I was right in the front row and could have taken some awesome photos. Plus I had driven 5 hours the day before from Phoenix and my narrow behind wasn't very comfortable o Viejas' lawn chair seating.

Donna said that Mimi and her two daughters were in the audience, and of course didn't point them out specifically, but was looking behind me in my direction. I did see someone who would have fit the description perfectly, very beautiful. I didn't want to seem to obvious as I saw these two little girls earlier at the nearby Inn I was staying at. I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable, especially if I was wrong or right for that matter.

The band and this particular orchestra sounded wonderful. It really has a wonderful full sound. Great job. The set list was the same as the Las Vegas show. Donna was very playful and the banter was good. She's even a bit suggestive, on a very subtle level. I don't think most people got it during "CIBM", Donna's doing the spoken part after the first chorus. During the words hold on, hold on, she grabs the microphone stand almost as if she's about to do "the dance". She looked up and coyly smiled and went back into the song. It was almost like a personal joke with herself. I yelled, but most of the audience didn't really do anything. Who knows, maybe it was just my imagination. Pearls was stunning. I just love to see Donna head back, the mic in the stand and her voice beaming as if she was singing directly into the mic. It sent chills through you, that and Smile. One thing that just dawned on me is that there weren't any particular spiritual songs in the line-up. I'm sure most of you would be happy with that, but I enjoyed hearing them when she did. I don't have any hang up with Donna's belief.

Finally everyone in the audience started standing and dancing around Dim All The Lights and the remainder of the show. A good sized group even rushed the stage during Last Dance. There weren't any encores (wah!), but they played IGYL after the end.

Everyone seemed to be having a really good time over all. Even Donna's body guard was mouthing the words toward the end (LOL).

Thank you Donna for a great time!

- Keith AKA Jakeinlove 

Viejas, San Diego June 25

It was a hot day as I was driving southbound on I-5 cruising along and listening to “who-else” but Donna Summer. Realizing that I am truly a Donna-Freak for driving the distance of 136 miles – ONE WAY (by myself) to see my FAVORITE singer of ALL TIME !! After driving the beautiful California coast for a while I head inland towards Viejas Casino and I finally get there and get settled and proceed to get out of my car and realize that it is much hotter inland and I am sweating profusely! I proceed to the casino and gamble a bit and make my way to the concert venue. It is a small venue, and the crowd was mixed with 30’s & 40ish and some 50ish peoples a few youngsters with a good mix of White, Latin and Afro-Americans, with a nice big stage setting that looks pretty monstrous in comparison to the seating and the venue as a whole, but who cares, I am here to see DONNA SUMMER !!

Finally the weather cools down to a low simmer and I am in my seat ready for the show. The comedian was pretty good but I was to hot and sweaty to really enjoy him but I wasn’t there for him anyway. The stage set up was the same as last year with the big glittery piano atop a staging with two piano key like stairways. It is now dark and you can see the band members going to their place and then the conductor instructs the band to start and then we have the medley of Donna hits and the crowd is screaming and some are dancing it was great. Then, as expected, Donna rises to the top of the staging among billowing smoke to the tune of “She Works Hard for the Money” with her right arm held high and smiling and looking beautiful. She sings the song and she sounds excellent. I was afraid that on her 3rd consecutive day of performing her voice might be tired but she was crystal clear.

She then proceeds to talk to the crowd and sings “MacArthur Park” (my all-time favorite Donna tune), “Once Upon A Time” & “I Love You !” I just love these last 2 songs and they seemed to sort of get lost in the crowd. She sang her heart out (especially on I Love You – WOW – that song just gets me every time and “live” it is even better – I was so excited singing along) and it appeared that most of the people didn’t even know the songs – but I guess since I have been a fan for 30 years I expect too much. After a while she goes in and does the “twins” segment and then does “Natural Woman”, she is just phenomenal with this song I can’t get enough of it. Prior to this she talks to the audience and then asks “what would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?” and the audience screams NO ! She sang a few verses of this song and “with a little help” from the audience everyone is singing along it was freakin’ awesome, I must admit when she first started the song I got a little emotional – I guess from just being there and being that she just makes me very happy and also just thinking that I would never walk out on her. As she finishes the song and my eyes begin to dry this woman (who had never seen Donna before – but says she will again) next to me says, “WOW, her voice is just incredible!” and I am like I know I just motioned my arms toward Donna just saying I know, I just could not say it any better – I literally couldn’t.

Anyway, the song set is the same as we read, but when she did “Pearl” I was blown away, her voice was so powerful and clear and just perfect. I have never heard the song and I probably won’t hear the original because, well let’s face it, I need to hear it from a strong voice – no offense to Sade fans. There was a few sound errors at one point where Donna was singing the “hallelujah” parts they appeared to not have her mike turned up correctly (funny thing is I could still hear her but not thru the speakers I heard HER! What a powerful voice !) and at another point this happened also and she just sort of looked at the sound guy to her left and continued on – what a professional. No snide remark, just a simple look.

She sang all the hits plus the extras, “Dim All The Lights,” “On The Radio” (with her audience members), “Smile,” “Could It Magic” – she did this song exceptionally well, she had her arms up to the side swaying up and down while singing and the talking part she was kind of sexy and bending her knees a bit (obviously her knee is much better) sort of dancing. It was wonderful as it is one of my favorite Donna tunes. At another point, she is talking about her 25th wedding anniversary and how she had to “ withhold her womanly duties” from Bruce to persuade him to do his song during her show as a gift to her. It was funny, she was just really comfortable and relaxed up there, being that I was so close it was nice and refreshing to see. Then she comes back after Bruce's song and her and Mary do “No More Tears”, it was great the crowd was on their feet again dancing and screaming I loved it.

After all these she goes into “Cold Love” which was completely lost by the crowd – but understandably, the crowd didn’t know it (hmm perhaps a lot of newbies but that is a good thing) and it really didn’t work well with a small crowd like this but it was in the middle where she introduces the band. She then goes into “Bad Girls” & “Hot Stuff” and it was here that the temperature rose back up to 100 degrees what with all the screaming and yelling and dancing. What a show, what a performer! She leaves the stage and after a few moments or minutes I really don’t remember she comes out in the beautiful silver glittery gown and after the violin solo Donna goes into “Last Dance,” this song is just amazing when she sings it “live” and the middle slow part she simply kicked ass – her voice was better than ever. So the concert was over and I left as hot and sweaty as I arrived and proceeded on my long trek home listening to “who-else” but Donna Summer reveling in the after thoughts of what I had just experienced. I gotta say Donna looked awesome, her hair and make-up and everything, she looked BEAUTIFUL !!

One final note, being from Los Angeles I have seen Donna many times but I have only seen her one other time in San Diego and as much as I hate to say it, the small venues are nice but they are just no comparison to the Universal (now Gibson – ughh) Amphitheater. The L.A. crowd always gets Donna going in a great way. Also, most noticeably gone from the song set tonight was the famous “Try Me, I Feel Love & Love to Love You Baby” medley. Last year I prayed for it but I didn’t bother this time because I knew she wasn’t going to do it this time I just had a gut feeling. So needless to say, if she goes to L.A., I will be there again and all will be perfect in my (yes I know I am spoiled) Donna world! L.A. gets a bad rap sometimes what with the traffic and smog and all that jazz, but when they get DONNA - they get it GOOD and that ain't bad !! 

Thank You DONNA for more beautiful memories.

- Patrick A. from Los Angeles, CA

Saratoga June 28

Props to Mpdphp, Brent, and Keith P for excellent reviews and sanity-checking my disliking that Vegas crowd! And hats off to the Webmaster: thank you for doing all this for us and Donna. (If I wasn't so mesmerized by Donna, I probably could have gotten the song list straight from the Vegas show ;-)

Last night, I was in the 3rd row at Saratoga's Historic Mountain Winery with my lovely wife. This crowd totally blew the top CLEAN OFF of Vegas' %*#)@) crowd. To understand this show, you have to imagine a winery with a little amphitheater in the woods, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, in the hills above San Jose.

The warm wind was breezing by, the sun was setting in the West, and here is none other than the very highest of all majestic Queens performing for this crowd right up close and personal.

A little daylight even! The perfect photo opportunity! But guess who left the memory card in the computer at home? Well, I guess I didn’t waste any time fiddling with my camera *** no photos :-( ***

This crowd had absolutely no problem dancing its tail off all night long, plain and simple. Except for the slower, more mellow, songs like "Pearls," people were UP and dancing, and really having fun. There were several people of, as one may say, a "certain age" that were going off like everyone else. It really hit me: this woman is a superstar, the very top of the top, the best there is, a legend, a Quee--THE Queen--and singing with a big smile on her face. Side story: I sat with a bunch of people who get comps to the Winery because they live nearby and have to put up with the traffic. A couple of them weren't quite sure who Donna Summer was until she started the show. Within about 30 seconds, they figured out that they were in the very midst of perfection.

Donna said this was her "one of her favorite places to be" of all her tour and you believed it because she sung like a cannon. Some highlights for me was when she hammered Macarthur Park right out of the gates and that "Hallelujah" from "Pearls" that rang throughout the mountainside as Brent mentioned in his review from Vegas. Some of the notes she hit literally brought me to tears. Have you ever experienced anything so beautiful that it brought you to tears? That's perfection.

The playlist was exactly the same as Vegas' evening. Most unfortunately, Mountain Winery has a curfew of 10pm, and Donna started at 8:30, so she ran to 10:10 and had to really step it up to finish. I don't know if she ever does a second encore but I felt like, if she ever did, it would have been in Saratoga because this crowd just completely GAVE IT UP for Ms. Summer.

I think it was clear that Donna loved the show as much as the fans did. She was in perfect form, and it was redeeming to give back to her what she's given to all of us all of these years. I can't wait until she comes back here, say, next year? See you then.

Best regards,

- Josh from San Francisco


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