The Donna Summer Tribute Site

On July 29, 1998 Donna performed in Chicago for the grand opening on a new Old Navy store. Shortly thereafter I received this letter from a fan named Gabe who had actually gone to the show. His letter put the stardust back into my eyes and I felt compelled to share his words with all the rest of the fans out there. He graciously gave permission for me to put his letter on my website where it could (and did) inspire fans all over the world. [- Cathy]

Gabe's Review of the Old Navy concert.

Hi Cathy,

<snip >

I have followed Donna's career since 1978. Wow! 20 years of being a fan! Donna Summer's music has most certainly been the soundtrack to my life. I am m sure that you can relate. During the most joyous of times I have had Donna's music to lift me even higher. In darker times, her music reminded me that there is always beauty and hope in this world.

Enough about me...now onto the concert!

On July 29th Donna Summer was the very special guest during the opening night preview of the new "Old Navy" flagship store in downtown Chicago.

The event was held to celebrate the grand opening of the store and benefited several charities. The new store is situated right in the heart of Chicago's prestigious State Street shopping district.

It was a warm Chicago evening and excitement was definitely in the air as my mom (she is big fan also) and I took our place in line (on the red carpet) outside the new "Old Navy" store. The event was billed as lasting three hours (6:00 til 9:00PM). I assumed that Donna's performance would be the grand finale to the event. There were about 100 persons in front of us and it was only 5:45.

Exactly at 6:00 the doors were opened and the first persons were let inside. The crowd at 6:00 had tripled in size! Mom and I were ushered inside and we gave our names at the front desk.

Hospitality, thy name is Old Navy! You could not go five feet without having someone offer you delicious hors-d'oeurves or drinks. The store is really fun. The three levels are connected by escalators. Disco classics filled the air as we toured the store.

I asked about 4 employees if they had any information about when and where Donna would be performing. No one had any exact information. Luckily I found a very helpful employee who set her tray down and looked at her official schedule. There it was....Donna would be performing at 8:00 on the third floor.

At this time I did not know what to expect. I thought that since this was an in-store performance, Donna might sing to the accompaniment of prerecorded music tracks. I thought she might do 4 songs at the minimum and hopefully a 1/2 hour performance.

Sprinting up the escalator I was astonished to see that a full stage (50 feet wide about 25 feet deep) had been set up on the third floor. Upon this stage were located a fully array of instruments. I couldn't believe my luck. Here I would see Donna perform with a full band! EXTREMELY CLOSE!

At about 7:15 I decided to go up to stake my place in the crowd. On the way up the escalator I noticed a woman who looked familiar. It was Donna's sister Mary! I told my mom, but by that time we had ascended to the third floor. It was staring to get packed. I thought about going back to see if I could meet Mary, but I decided to get closer to the stage.

It's a good thing that my mom is petite. Folks generously let my mom go the very front of the stage. Mom was actually touching the velvet ropes that separated the fans form the DIVA! Mom and I were exactly center stage. I could not believe my good luck. The crowd was very excited and Donna chat filled the air. Rumor had it that the mayor would be on hand and some other celebrities.

At about 8:02 the security guard had taken their places and the 2 foot wide isle that separated the stage form the fans was cleared. A few moments later Morgan Fairchild was ushered form the left of the stage to a curtained area to the right of the stage. She looked beautiful! She is tiny! She was followed by an entourage of famous looking folks (model types etc.). I was sure Donna would take the stage shortly.

At 8:05 they dimmed all the lights and the band and back up singers came out on stage. There she was! Mary Bernard.......Donna's sister with another female back up singer and a male back up singer and Bruce Sudano! The band played a quick medley of hits and then the intro music began and within a few moments the band started playing "This Time I Know It's For Real"

DONNA SUMMER came on stage!!!!!!!!!!

Donna looked beautiful. What struck me was how petite she seemed up close. She had lost a lot of weight and looked utterly glamorous. She came on stage wearing a fitted, leopard print jacket that extended to her knees with black slacks. Her hair was very natural looking and similar to her Carnegie hall style. (No, regrettably I was not fortunate enough to attend that concert...but I did see the photos on your site.) She started her concert with "This Time I Know It's For Real". I was so ecstatic that it was hard to remember the order of the songs...but I'll try:
Could It Be Magic
MacArthur Park
Heaven Knows
On the Radio
No More Tears
Bad Girls
Hot Stuff
She Works Hard For the Money
Someone to Watch Over Me
Dim All the Lights (Rod's version and the original dance version.)
Last Dance

She sang as well as ever and looked more beautiful than she had in years! I was entranced. Donna seemed to be in a very good mood and showed her sense of humor. She was hitting a long note and decided to make her lips quiver....she joked..."Works for Barbara!". She did a very long spoken intro for "Enough is Enough" and then tore into the song with her sister Mary. Bruce introduced the band and kept things rolling while Donna changed into her 2nd costume for the evening. (Bruce also dueted with Donna on Heaven Knows.)

Donna changed her costume right before Bad Girls. She wore a tight black strapless short party dress. It was very tight on top and flowed out into a skirt that hit her at the knees. It was covered in black sequins and tulle.

The crowd went wild all during her performance and almost raised the roof during last dance. Donna thanked the crowd and waved goodbye.

I had been literally ten feet away from my idol and I felt that I was dreaming. I was transported back to my early teen years when Donna was the Queen of Disco and my life was very uncomplicated. Her music still is a part of my life and will always be a reminder of my youth and of the celebration of life!

Pure MAGIC!

The show lasted one hour!!! It was videotaped and transmitted throughout the store! I must find a way to obtain a copy!!!!

As we were leaving the store we were handed a knapsack that contained a free "Old Navy" T-shirt, watch and hat.

It was a perfect evening.

Well, there you have it Cathy...more than you probably wanted to read. I guess I get carried away when it comes to Donna. I am sure you understand.

<snip >

Gabe (Gabriel_Santana@cch.com)

© 1998 Gabriel Santana

 

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