|I would say that the Santa Rosa performance rivaled the Oakland performance. Donna performed with much exuberance and energy. Her delivery was strong, her voice full and resonant. I had more chills down the spine. And I'm not sure what it is about the Santa Rosa crowd, but they were really responsive and LOUD. I thought the woman five rows down was going to start a fire shaking her booty as vigorously as she was. It was over the top; the venue was literally 'a quakin.'
Donna was amazing. She was doing her thing. The audience witnessed a superstar, shining brilliantly, making her vocal beauty bigger than life.
Donna appeared more relaxed throughout the evening. She was very "chatty" at this venue, talking with the audience between sets. For any of you interested, I made approximate, rough notes of the following pronouncements made by Her Majesty:
After singing On the Radio, accompanied by backup singing from the front row, by none other than Eduardo Hanke, West Coast SF team leader, and Joe Solis, Donna fan extraordinaire in the house from Boston, and before the 15 minute intermission, I believe, Donna pondered her "divadom," informing the audience that "when you are famous you are two people...in real life, you're you," and something to the effect that "in your stage life, you're you" with a little extra? She confessed that before the show, she frequently finds herself, "waiting for the Diva to show up." She was speaking so quickly, but seemed to request "witness" from the audience. The crowd roared in response.
At another point in the show, she shared how good she was feeling that night by saying that, people think that "as a performer, it's fun to be up here (on stage). But sometimes, we-don't-like-it. For example, when it's 110 degrees, and we are performing outside, in the desert." There was a sassy response from the crowd, to which Donna responded, "This is not one of those times." Then the crowd ROARED with delight.
Later Donna went on to introduce Crayons, explaining that Crayons are "easy to understand, because we all got a box of crayons when we were kids, right?" To which some smart-ass in the audience, let out a woeful wail, "NNNNNnnnnnnooooooooooo!" To which Donna responded, "Okay, baby, you just stand by the door on the way out, and we'll get you a box, okay?" The crowd laughed, and I think there was a perceptible, "Okaaaaaaaaaaay!" in response (I'm telling you, there is something unusual about the Santa Rosa, CA crowd). She went on to say, that "as children, when we get our box of crayons, we dump them out on the table. (Pause) And then, we discover the great white wall." The crowd responded with laughter. I think I missed the comment leading up to the last one. However, before beginning to sing the title track from her new album Crayons, she proclaimed that "I am out of the box." I am finally out of the box."
At another point, after delivering another chilling and emotional performance of Bring Down the Reign and receiving a roar of approval from the Santa Rosa audience, Donna lightened up the mood, telling the audience that "that (the audience response) feels so good that I don't care what my kids say anymore!" which was cleverly understated, and hilarious.
The most curious moment of the performance for me that night happened during the Hattie Mae routine when Donna introduced her sister, and they both got the giggles when Hattie Mae explained how her sister (Mary Ellen Bernard--her name in the skit escapes me at the moment), "gave up her life" for Donna. Perhaps it was a reference to seeing the glass of water half-empty, rather than half-full. I'm not sure if it was a reference to Mary Ellen putting her plans to promote her recently released CD, You Made It, on hold, or some other exchange they may have had in the past, but they were both lost in laughter.
After regaining composure, they proceeded with the skit, and the song, Slide Over Backwards, in which Donna personifies and glorifies the life of a character named Hattie Mae. I think that the song acknowledges and celebrates the humanity and strength of this character, and pays respect to others like her. Donna and her sister shared some vintage black vernacular with us, and proceeded to perform the funky tune, Slide Over Backwards. I think this song surprises a lot people, because it is so theatrical. Listening to Slide Over Backwards, it seemed as if the amphitheater was one big oyster, and that the people in the audience were like pearls being cultured by the Queen of the Acculturation Nation.
Also noteworthy at the Santa Rosa performance, was the keyboardist, Hamm, who also played harmonica, and sang back-up vocals. The dude worked real hard for his money, and I thought his vocals were right on. The guitar players were great. And the dude on the drums bumped up the bass big time.
Donna finished strong with Last Dance, the crowd was loud and wild, and the venue was physically shaking from all of the movement. The Queen had spoken.