|What a day! Where should I start? Let's go with a little background first. The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is a tiny little venue maybe 10 minutes from where I work. It probably seats about 500 people - maybe a little more. So it's guaranteed that no matter where you sit, you will get a good view. Donna's concert was a fundraiser for the theater itself, so tickets were more expensive than usual for the WHBPAC - and that meant that I was sitting in the back in the cheap seats. LOL
So on to the day itself. And bear with me because it will take a little while to get to the concert itself. LOL I had to work that morning until 2. And that was cool because it gave me time to take care of a few things at home before I had to change and meet my friends for dinner in Westhampton. At least that was the plan. By the time 2 rolled around, we were in the midst of a big monsoon. LOL Looking out the window of my store, I could see it getting pitch black outside and then the sky opened up - SHEETS of water falling from the sky - and falling sideways because of the wind. Thunder, lightning...... it was a mess. And there I was with no jacket of any kind because I had left it in the car. Well, I killed a little time after my shift by taking care of some shopping and by that time the rain had met up enough that I didn't think I'd have to swim to my car. So I headed home...... or so I thought. I got most of the way there (fortunately I only live about 15 minutes from the store) and I couldn't get any further. Traffic was jammed up SOLID and it would have taken me probably an hour to get to my house. (I found out later that the storm had caused a substation to blow and that's what messed up the traffic so much.) So it was a quick u-turn to go stay with a friend for the duration. That was all well and good except she had no power and no phone. The no phone thing would have been a non-issue except that the is in a very dead spot for cell phones and I had only intermittent service - and I had friends to coordinate with. I think my call to one friend was dropped 6 times! LOL
So finally it's time to go meet my friends for dinner. By that time the rain had eased, but the roads were flooded here and there and there were tree branches everywhere. And my friend's street was closed off so I had to do some fancy navigating to get out of there. LOL I got to Westhampton (thankful that I had thrown my tickets in my wallet that morning in case I had to work late!) and found that our designated meeting place in a local parking lot was covered in water. Eventually we all arrived in one piece, we went to dinner, and then came back to the theater to wait for the doors to open. Inside there was a cocktail party going on for the people who had paid for the more expensive tickets. So we stood there and people-watched - believe me that was a show in and of itself! (More on that later. LOL) The next thing we know - all the lights on the block went out. Yes - the power was out with only an hour to go before the show. Yikes! At this point the cocktail party moved outside (the rain had stopped) because there was more light out in the street. So we got to do even more people-watching on a very crowded sidewalk.
As we're standing there cracking jokes, pointing out all the silicone to each other and hoping the show could go on - one of my friends pointed out that Nathan DiGesare had come out from the side of the building (the theater is on a street corner) and was now across the street with his cameras filming the scene from across the street. So I went over to say hi, and introduce myself. We chatted for a little bit (he's a really nice guy) and then he came over with me and chatted with my friends and we found out that they had ordered generators so the show could go on. YAY! A little while after Nathan left, we saw an electrical truck pull up and a theater staffer some out and direct the truck to the side entrance. The generators were here! And at that exact moment - the power for the whole block came back. That was the first ovation for the night. LOL So now everyone is trying to get into the theater, but they weren't letting anyone past the lobby - even though under normal circumstances, they would have been seating us by then. After a little while, someone came out and announced that the show was going on, but there would be a little bit more delay because they had to do another soundcheck because of course all the computers and stuff they use had to be rebooted.
FINALLY - they let us in and the show began. Let's go with the set list:
Intro/Changing Of The Guard
The Queen Is Back
I Feel Love
Dim All The Lights
Con Te Partiro
Driving Down Brazil - Thank you Alice!
Sand On My Feet
On The Radio
Enough Is Enough (Duet with Mary)
Stamp Your Feet
Slide Over Backwards (as Hattie May)
Selah (Mary solo)
She Works Hard For The Money
Fame (The Game)
Most of what I can say about the songs, I have already said before in my other show reports so I'll try to stick to what was specific to WHBPAC. The first thing I noticed was that despite the price of the tickets and the fact that this was a real theater..... we pretty much had a casino crowd. Granted the clothes were more money and there was more botox and silicone than I see at the casinos, but the audience response was that of a casino crown. Actually, scratch that.... I think the casino crown in Atlantic City was more responsive over all. The only times I saw a majority of people on their feet was for On The Radio, No More Tears and Last Dance. Donna was in fine form though. :-) But I did feel bad for the dancers. The WHBPAC stage is much smaller than the stages at the other venues, so the choreography had to be adjusted accordingly. So they had to leave out a lot of the flips and things they usually do, and for Mr. Music they didn't have the iDONs on stage so they were taking their poses on the stairs beside the stage. (See the pics below for a photo of the stage layout.)
The crowd might have been mostly dead, but I was having a good time - the sound was great where I was sitting and I had a nice overview of the show from up top. (But I did miss having you guys there - it's not the same without you guys shouting random things to the stage. ) Instead of I'm A Fire, Donna did Driving Down Brazil as a special favor for her friend Alice. (Yes, the Alice who doesn't work. That poor woman will probably never live that down. LOL) Fast forward to intermission - my friends and I were a bit scattered around the theater, so we all met down by the lobby to compare notes. When we returned to our seats, a woman stopped me to ask me a Donna question because she said I looked like someone who knows a lot about Donna. The odd thing about that was that she didn't mention the site, and I wasn't wearing any Donna gear. I guess I look like a rabid fan even when I'm in the real world? LOL
Act 2 started with No More Tears which was a big favorite with the crowd. That was a little surprising because after the storm you would think anything mentioning rain would not go over well! LOL The rest of the act went on pretty much as it did in the other shows I've seen. Donna did drop Be Myself Again which was probably a good idea in that venue. First of all, seeing the way the new songs were going down - I don't think a brand new ballad would have fared well. Plus I don't think many of them would have understood the intro. When Donna introduces Be Myself Again, she talks a little about fame and how one day she looked in the mirror and literally didn't recognize herself. But looking around the theater, I could see quite a few people who spent a nice chunk of cash to not be able to recognize themselves when they look in the mirror. ;-)
What else did I want to say? Oh yes - you guys in the second half of the tour better watch out for Slide Over Backwards. It's rapidly becoming the silly part of the show with Donna.... I mean Hattie going out of her way to crack up Mary right before Selah. :-) I suspect that before the tour ends there will be one night where Mary won't be able to recover herself in time.
And of course I have to wrap things up by saying (for the millionth time probably) that Fame rocks live! And that particular night, I think some of the lyrics fit the audience members pretty well too. ;-) The only thing missing was Ken Allan - where were you Ken??? Do I have to send the drag queens after you now? ;-)
- The Totally Unauthorized Donna Summer Stalker