June 16, 2006 (Friday)
What a night!
I had the good fortune of running into next to no traffic on the way to the theater, so I was there nice and early.
(Please don't tell my boss that I could have actually stayed at work a little later.... oh wait, too late.
She reads this site sometimes.
Hi Boss! ;-)
As I pulled up in the parking lot, I saw a Brinks truck driving around back. I thought maybe it was Donna's bling arriving.....
;-) (I found out later that it was probably just there to haul away the profits from the concession stands. $8 bought me a bottle of water and a pretzel.
I think if I had wanted something more, I would have needed to apply for financing......
Now for those who have never been to Westbury, you need to understand that it's staged in the round.
Which means that Donna can't use the set she uses at "normal" venues. Well, I guess they could find a way of fitting it on the Westbury stage, but then at any given time half the audience would be looking at the back of the set and would completely miss what Donna was doing. And the rule is that when I'm in the Westbury audience, the cool things will ONLY happen when the artist is facing away from me. (And I don't just mean at Donna shows – it happens when I see other people there too.
LOL) Of course, being in the round, it means that even if you are stuck in the back you still have a good view of the show, and it makes for a much more intimate setting. It also allows for more interaction from the audience as there are more people close enough to the stage to be heard when they shout to Donna.
And there was plenty of shouting...... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start with a list of songs as I remember them – I probably should have taken notes, but I didn't. So this will probably not quite be in order.
They started with the band playing an overture (which is a medley of a bunch of different hit
songs) then Donna came out doing She Works Hard For The Money.
Before I go on, I'll mention one little detail that I know is very important to some of you. Donna was wearing heels – no more flats. I remember the outcry last year when she was wearing flats, so I'll give you a minute to cheer for the heels. (Is it pathetic that I never used to pay attention to little things like shoes until I started hanging around with you foot fetishists? You people have corrupted me! LOL)
Moving along, she did MacArthur Park, Could It Be Magic, This Time I Know It's For Real, Once Upon A Time, I Love You, Smile, With A Little Help From My Friends, On The Radio (with 3 divas from the audience helping out), Natural Woman, Enough Is Enough (with her sister Mary), a long medley of Try Me, I Feel Love and Love To Love You, Dim All The Lights, Pearls, Bad Girls, Hot Stuff, and Last Dance. And somewhere in the middle of all that, Bruce took the stage to sing Le Imagine Cafe – without the Elvis shirt this time though.
Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything.
We were also treated to a couple of impromptu surprises. Someone across the theater from me asked for Rumor Has It and Donna sang a couple lines accapella. The audience picked up on the beat and clapped in time to the rhythm – even after Donna stopped singing. So she stood there and danced a little for us. That was pretty cool. And then later, after a couple people shouted "Spring Affair" (repeatedly at regular intervals through the show – you guys know who you were! LOL) she sang a couple lines of that too.
Now I have to say something about Love To Love You. I know she was doing it last year, and I remember the excitement when the first report came in saying that Love To Love You was back in the show.
But then, with all the shows I went to last year – NOT ONCE was that song in the set list. I was starting to think that it was some sort of hoax you were all playing on me. LOL
So I guess it was finally my lucky night! And I have to tell you, that bass line sounds awesome pumping out of a concert sound system. (And what was ever more awesome was watching my friend nearly pass out with joy when the song started. He missed out last year too!
A couple of the other stand out moments for me were I Love You and Smile – both for personal reasons.
(I won't go into details, but I Love You has had special meaning for me for a number of years now, and Smile just sort of fit after the stuff that's been going on in my life the last week or so.) Pearls was also phenomenal. I know the Florida fans have already raved about Donna's vocals on that one, but I'd like to add that the vocals are beautifully supported by a wonderful string arrangement and a really poignant guitar solo. When I heard Sade's original version a few years ago, I said "okay, this isn't bad,"
but when I heard Donna's version last night, I said "WOW!" (Full marks to Randy Mitchell for that guitar solo – great job!)
All in all, it was a great night. Donna was relaxed and happy.
The audience was boisterous and completely into the show.
Those two things together always make for a great show.
And that brings us to......
June 17, 2006 (Saturday)
On Saturday I was meeting up with a different set of friends. Once again, I lucked out with traffic although a couple of my friends were not quite so fortunate. (Phil, I guess that you didn't know that the LIE is usually just one long parking lot?
;-) ) We decided to grab some food at a local deli which was an experience in and of itself.
Are any of you out there Monty Python fans? If so, you will understand when I say that the deli was run almost as well at the store in the cheese shop sketch. But the food was okay once we were able to figure out what they actually had there.
LOL Then it was a short walk back to the theater where we arrived just in time for the comedian. He was good, but we were there to see Donna.
On Saturday the set list was exactly the same.
The audience was a little (make that a lot) more mellow though. Although the guy in front of me was doing his best to make up for the calmer ones. He spent most of the night doing some pretty ummmmm.... interesting dancing.
(He was even dancing to the slow parts of some of the songs, which I found really unusual.)
There really isn't too much I can say about Saturday's show that I haven't already said about Friday's show. As I said before, the set list was exactly the same – only this time we didn't have people shouting out random song titles. (Well, except for one time right after Enough Is Enough when somebody yelled Take It To The Zoo. Donna didn't sing any of it, but she remembered where it came from.
I'd be willing to bet that a lot of people in the audience didn't though. LOL) All in all, they were great shows with just the right mix of the big hits, classic tracks that don't get performed all the time and some really nice covers.
The only little quibble I have (other than I would have liked the show to last 4 or 5 hours longer......
;-) ) is that I'm not sure how well Pearls is going to work at a casino show stuck in between Dim All The Lights and Bad Girls.
Gambling crowds seem to have shorter attention spans and if you don't whack them in the head with a strong beat every 2 seconds or so, their minds wander back to the slot machines.
LOL But then again, if they don't want to listen – that's their loss.
I'm posting some of my pictures on the bottom of the page. I just want to say that the sparkly white dress Donna wears for Last Dance is gorgeous.
In all the pictures I've seen of it from both Florida and Westbury – not one really does it justice. Maybe THAT'S what the Brinks truck was delivering!
- Cathy, from Long Island and Cyberspace