Now that I have a little time, I can tell you about Coney Island. .
First of all, it was part of a free concert series that the park puts on every Thursday night in the summer time. Donna's show was actually the last one of the season, and as such (and since it was such a nice night) it was guaranteed to be a full house even before you add the diehards into the mix. "Full house" turned out to be an understatement though. I was on line behind a regular Thursday night concert-goer and she said this was the most people she had seen for any show. :-) I found out later that they officially broke the attendance records that night.
Let me explain the setup to you. The concerts are held in Seaside Park which is a little piece of land in between Surf Avenue and Seabreeze avenue. (You can see it on Google maps to get an idea - just search for Coney Island Seaside Park.) Across Surf Avenue is a boardwalk by the beach. By the time the show started, the whole park was full of people , and you could see people lines up on the boardwalk to watch. There are even apartments in the area and there were people listening from their windows. This was beyond packed!
My group arrived at the part between 4 and 4:30 - which was absolutely essential if you wanted to rent one of the $5 seats in the center. (People who got there early could also stake out a good free section of grass to the sides of the stage too.) When we got there, the line for seats was already almost half way around the park and I have to say it was quite a people watching experience. The crowd ranged from the very young to the very old, and from the very normal to the "gee did they let everyone out of the asylum tonight?" (Can you guess which end of the spectrum I fell in? ;-) ) With all the people, it was hard to meet up with other diehards, but our little group of 4 did expand to 8, and I saw a couple of others before the show - but I know there were a ton of other fans there that were just lost in the crowd. (We should have all worn screaming red shirts or something so we could have found each other easier. LOL)
While waiting on line, we got to hear the band warm up a bit - they played a couple of Chicago songs in addition to some of the usual Donna songs. (It was the band only - Donna wasn't out there singing yet. I thought I should nip that question in the bud. LOL)
About 5:30 or so they started renting the chairs and by that time the line was all the way around the park. Our position in line scored us about 10th row, which wasn't bad. But we still had a lot of time to kill before the show started. The time was filled by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and his all star cast of politicians. Seriously the guy talked non-stop for something like 3 hours as he posed for photos with every local politician and politician wannabe in the city. If you saw my tweets from the night then you know that was sort of annoying, but in retrospect I have to hand it to Marty. It takes a lot of stamina to talk for 3 hours and say absolutely nothing! LOL It helped that the guys behind us were a bit rowdy and trying to heckle him the whole time. (They kept trying to get him to sing Purple Haze - that would have rocked if he had heard them and complied!)
Finally about 8 or so, it was time for the comedian. We were told he'd do 20 minutes, then there would be a short break and Donna would come out. It didn't quite pan out that way. The comedian badly misjudged the audience and attempted a couple jokes - some of which fell flat, but one of which made the crowd turn on him badly. The guy was literally booed of the stage after 5 minutes. I've never seen that happen before! So that meant more Marty until Donna came out. Ugh!
FINALLY - it was Donna's turn to take the stage. She came out to The Queen Is Back accompanied by the cheers of what seemed like all of Brooklyn. (It was sort of had to grasp how big the crowd was until they started making noise. :-) ) You could tell Donna liked the reception she got, even before she started to tear up. (I've said it before and I'll say it again - Donna likes a rowdy crowd. So if you are at a show, you need to stand up and make some noise!) That was followed by I Feel Love and some chatting with the audience where Donna joked about being told to act like a lady, and about wanting to name her daughter Coney Island instead of Brooklyn.
The rest of the set went like this:
Dim All The Lights
I'm A Fire
Could It Be Magic (I hadn't heard that one live in awhile :-) )
Sand On My Feet
On The Radio
Enough Is Enough (with Mary of course)
Smile (as a tribute to Michael Jackson)
Stamp Your Feet
She Works Hard For The Money
The crowd was definitely into the show. They were up for all the hits. They were a little more sedate at first with the new songs mainly because the casual people didn't know them yet. But they got into them as the show went along. The guys behind me, the "Marty hecklers" were definitely casual fans. But they were having a blast with the hits and after Sand On My Feet I heard one of them remark that it is a very pretty song. :-) (Did I mention that those guys are very perceptive? ;-) )
Smile went over very well with the audience - and it was very appropriate for that venue as Marty was plugging some upcoming local birthday celebration for Michael Jackson. And of course everyone in the park was singing along to Last Dance.
The only real glitch in the night (other than the comedian LOL) was at the very end of Last Dance. As many of you know, the band keeps playing it for a little bit after Donna leaves the stage. Well, after Donna left, somebody cut the sound system while the band was still playing. It was like somebody back stage said "Well, Donna left so I'll just turn it off now." LOL It was a little weird, but the band and the dancers finished up as if nothing had happened. And the audience kept clapping along as if it was still full volume.
After that it was off to find some food at Nathan's (I guess that was appropriate for my first time at Coney Island) and then home to get ready to do it all again the next day at Foxwoods.....
To be continued on the Foxwoods page.
- some crazy stalker reporting from website HQ ;-)