The Donna Summer Tribute Site

New York City

November 11, 2006

Here is my review of Donna's performance at the Nov. 11 Beacon Theater Benefit for Parkside School:

The benefit kicked off with speeches and a film about the school, and host Robert DeNiro and his wife Grace were very casual hosts.  The two founders of the school were given major tributes on the 20th anniversary of the school's opening.  I really found the history interesting, and the film focused on some of the alumni of the school.

The first performance was actually a beautiful violin solo from a former graduate.  It was very touching to say the least.  This seventeen year old Adrian had overcome a lot of problems to break through and his performance showed how much the school did for his esteem.

Then Robert DeNIro introduced John Legend.  There seemed to be some very devoted Legend fans there and they screamed out upon his entrance.  John gave a repetitive speech about the importance of the school, and then did two songs.  Just two songs and he was gone.  It was a mystery.  People were obviously disappointed.  But not for long....

Donna's band and and an orchestra set up quickly at Robert DeNiro's urging, and soon the band/orchestra broke into the usual overture.  The sound was excellent.  People around commented on the size of her band and orchestra.  As the overture ended, Donna's own announcer did his own , "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome DOOOOONNA SUMMMER." (this should be dropped...sounds tacky!  Robert DeNiro had already introduced her as the ONE and ONLY Donna Summer).  Donna looked absolutely stunning.  She has lost weight and is working out....she wore a tight mermaid type tight dress, and her buns, although still big, looked GOOD!  She had a longer slight curled wig and she seemed more natural than June's Westbury show.  Donna got whistles all night for her body and she danced like she hasn't in a while.  The set was:

Overture

MacArthur Park

Could It Be Magic

Little Help From My Friends/On the Radio

Smile

Enough Is Enough (preceded by the long Red Ferrari story)

She Works Hard for the Money

Hot Stuff (yes, she did this song before BG)

Bad Girls (with some male dancers)

Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend (amazing duet with Grace DeNiro with the male dancers- campy and great!)

Encore: Last Dance

Donna had the audience in her hands all night.  The comments coming out of the theater ranged from awesome to VERY entertaining.  Donna roped in a lot of new fans, and a lot of fans who were there to see John Legend.  She was funny, she was sexy...and her outfit was hot.  Some of her banter was risqué enough that I thought some of the kids there shouldn't have been listening!  Her voice was mega ON and she delivered big time.  As Donna had the whole packed theater on its feet for Last Dance, I noticed the two founders of Parkside peeking out from the side stage looking at the theater and looking out at the crowd and hugging each other...knowing Donna had delivered a big time contribution to their school.....it was rather touching.

Donna made no mention of the new CD, but she is working on her image and that's a good sign.  She even commented during the show that as she was doing her makeup before the show, she felt the DIVA in her coming out and she wanted to get away from being that desperate housewife eating potato chips and get back to being the diva.  And she was the DIVA tonight.  There were so many screams of "we love you Donna" from the audience that it was easy to see Donna is serious about reclaiming her throne.

Given this was my 3rd time seeing her in 2006, and 16th overall..I was still wowed.  That says something about this woman's longevity.

- Rich

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