The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Summer Fever Pick for July 2017:

Live & More Encore  (1999)

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Woooooooooooooooooooooo... 

vo·cif·er·ous  adj.
1. Making, given to, or marked by noisy and vehement outcry.*
2. A word used by Billboard magazine to accurately describe Donna Summer fans.

February 4, 1999. An enthusiastic crowd of diehard Donna Summer fans gathered in front of the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York hours before showtime. You would think that the long wait in the cold (and occasional drizzle) would have dampened the energy of those fans. But it didn't. If anything, the wait increased the level of excitement and anticipation.  Speaking as one of those waiting fans, four hours passed in the blink of an eye, and the show began.

Vociferous.  We embodied that word even before Donna hit the stage. The house lights went down and we started cheering. The opening notes of MacArthur Park played and we got louder. And then Donna appeared and even though it didn't seem possible, we got louder still. Vociferous. It doesn't even begin to describe the crowd. All the waiting, all the excitement, and all the anticipation spilled out in an appreciative roar – that kept going well into the song. Less than 30 seconds into the show, we KNEW it was going to be a magic night. And judging by the smile on Donna's face, she knew it too.

That concert was special. Not just because the crowd was enthusiastic, and not just because Donna was totally on that night. This one became an album and video and because of that, it became the show that everyone could experience – if not in person, then on tape. It was Donna's first live album since 1978, and first TV concert since 1983. And it was definitely worth waiting for. Donna treated us to all the hits we've come to love, plus several new songs – including two from her upcoming musical, Ordinary Girl.

If Live & More Encore has a flaw, it's the editing. While the video release contains all of the new songs performed that night, the CD sticks to mostly just the hits. And that's really frustrating when you're driving in the car and the disk you have is missing If There Is Music There and Nobody. But to make up for the missing live tracks, Donna added two brand new studio cuts which are notable in their own right. Both are kick-ass dance tracks that did well in the clubs when the album was released – proving once again that Donna will always be the Queen of Dance.

So this month I invite you to check out Live & More Encore.

*definition courtesy of dictionary.com

Other Art:

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Click the images for a larger version.
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Video captures - click for larger versions
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The band - click any image for a larger version
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Bruce Sudano Mary Bernard & Yvonne Hodges Scott Hallgren
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Ross Walters Darryl Tibbs John Billings
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George Perilli Randy Mitchell Mike Hanna

 

Videos

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I Don't Wanna Work That Hard
(rehearsal)

No More Tears rehearsal

 

 

A Few Quotes:

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Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

- Eldo Estes (audience member at the Live & More Encore taping) February 4, 1999 

I was present at the taping of Donna's VH1 Live and More, Encore concert. Out with the flu, I got a phone call from a co-worker informing me that he won tickets over the radio just for me because he knew how much of a fan I was. With the flu, fever, laryngitis and a friend, I went to the Hammerstein Ballroom that February evening seeking a surefire cure with my tea. 

The audience was instructed to relax and enjoy. We guys were told to remove our ties. Easily, we complied. 

That night we saw a beautiful Diva, the color of honey, with presence and style as natural and as sweet, work the entire Hammerstein Ballroom. With that emotive, and powerful voice, she had spun out this wonderfully warm and exciting energy that filled the Hammerstein and spilled out into the New York City street. 

She was so theatrically and vocally superior that, believe it or not, she didn't have to repeat any songs for the purpose of producing a quality video or CD like many artists do. They (VH1) asked her (and she asked us) to do Last Dance once more. I didn't see anything wrong with it the first time. But, anything to spend moments more with the Diva was fine with me that night. When it was all sung and done, I had the "Honey" for the flu...who needed tea? 

- Barry Atkins, audience member

DONNA SUMMER brings a lot to the table, especially an overwhelming amount of artistry. Without question, she brings a level of excitement back to dance music. She epitomizes what a true dance artist is. While she may have done new wave, rock and R & B in the past, the root of what she is -- is dance.

- Frank Ceraolo quoted in Billboard, February 13, 1999

This is the kind of project that has the power to help the dance community as a whole. Perhaps other labels will see this as a call to develop dance artists. Let's face it, there have been too many talented singers who have been misguided in terms of artist development.

- Frank Ceraolo quoted in Billboard, February 13, 1999

BONUS AUDIO CLIP: Donna talking about why they used the Hammerstein Ballroom for the taping in a 1999 syndicated UK interview.
When [Donna took the stage], looking fit and trim and elegant as all get out, the crowd lit up. In splendid voice, she moved through a comprehensive set, including her high-disco classics, her guitar-festooned early 80's work and her late '80s and '90s comeback hits, as well as a few inspirational songs and a couple of tunes from the musical based on her life that she's been writing down in Nashville.

- HX Magazine February 19, 1999

It's days after Donna Summer's February 4 performance at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom and, quite honestly, we're still reeling. To say that the artist served would be an understatement. To paraphrase one of her many cherished songs, she worked hard for her clamoring fans. 

Walking onto the stage wearing a flowing black gown and a Whitney-by-way-of-Faith wig, Summer, who recently signed to Epic Records, looked ever the consummate artist. Standing center stage, she followed the band's lead as it introduced the opening notes to MacArthur Park. Midway through the song, she burst into a wide smile. By the time she arrived at On The Radio, the fourth song of the evening, her face was glowing. In the sparkling eyes of her fans, La Summer could do no wrong - and she didn't.

- Michael Paoletta, Billboard February 20, 1999

On February 4, Donna Summer gave an explosive performance at the Manhattan Center in New York City. 

She was energetic, enthusiastic and with a disco ball hanging from the ceiling - the 70's came rushing back. Donna Summer didn't disappoint her fans either, singing all the classic songs we’ve come to know on the radio, clubs and parties today - including MacArthur Park, Bad Girls and Hot Stuff.

- Tara Tzoucalis, VH1.com 1999

"I can't tell you how wonderful and exciting this entire experience has been," noted Summer, who was initially approached to perform on VH1's second Divas Live show starring Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Chef, LeAnn Rimes, Brandy and other top artists. Ironically, Summer reveals that after further negotiation VH-1 wisely decided that she should do her own concert special has drawn advance critical raves.

- Charles E. Rogers, New York Amsterdam News, June 24, 1999

BONUS AUDIO CLIP: Donna talking about Live & More Encore on the Rosie O'Donnell Show June 24, 1999.
BONUS AUDIOCLIP: Donna talking about nailing the show in one take in a 1999 syndicated UK interview.
Fast-forwarding to 1999, in essence Donna Summer: Live & More --Encore is an historic album from a legendary artist who clearly opened the door for many determined to follow in her footsteps, and thus is making an impact. Of her impressive latest achievement, Summer, who is also the subject of an outstanding VH-1 Behind the Music special, said, "We worked hard to make this album and TV special event that my old and new fans would totally enjoy and appreciate." So once again it's Summer time and the listening is easy, exciting and entertaining. Indeed, Donna Summer is one Bad Girl who no doubt will always be Hot Stuff.

- Charles E. Rogers, New York Amsterdam News, June 24, 1999

The audio version of Donna Summer's special VH1 television show might not strike the same emotional chord as seeing the former disco diva's valiant performance, but make no mistake, Summer does indeed shine.

- Joseph Patel, CDNow, 1999

Unlike the many divas who save their best vocal tricks for the safe confines of a recording studio, Summer is doubly vibrant in a live setting. She adds a host of fresh twists to old faves like Dim All The Lights (which she reveals here was originally penned for Rod Stewart), She Works Hard For The Money , and I Feel Love. She has truly never sounded better.

- Larry Flick, Vibe, August 1999 

And she doesn't hold back on the opening number, MacArthur Park. Exactly why the cake was left out in the rain remains a mystery, but Summer's sob makes it sound like a tragedy on a par with Jesus hanging off the cross. Only a damn bit funkier. Always a fine interpretative singer, Summer's vocal chords have aged like malt whisky, and ballads like No More Tears - where Tina Arena takes on the Barbra Streisand role - and Last Dance seem to have been earned as much as written for her. That's the mark of a great singer. Of the hits here, the only one that gets short-changed is "I Feel Love," whose six minutes of throbbing glory is abruptly truncated. If Live & More climaxes too soon, call it a testament to Summer's ability to make you crave more. 

- VH1, 1999

For example, live versions of songs like MacArthur Park, She Works Hard For the Money, and Last Dance are infectious because of Summer's energy, which even seems to eclipse her younger days. With the beats of contemporary club music echoing those of the disco era, sans the arrangements, Summer's disco classics -- like Bad Girls and I Feel Love (a favorite of today's hippest house DJs) -- don't sound so temporally displaced.

- Joseph Patel, CDNow, 1999

But there are some songs that will always be in every show, like Bad Girls, Hot Stuff, No More Tears and Last Dance. I gotta do them or they'd stone me before I left the stage." - Donna Summer, Cable Guide, 1999
I wrote [Dim All The Lights] for Rod [Stewart] originally and I'd walk around the house singing it in his way. My husband said to me 'Why don't you do it on stage like that.' So I started doing it and I got a node on my vocal chord for my trouble. Sure I was a little concerned, after all my voice is my career. My doctor told me that I could sing part of the song but not the whole thing. It would have proved just too damaging to my voice. I wasn't about to argue with him.

- Donna Summer, Blues & Soul, November 1999

BONUS AUDIOCLIP: Donna talking about Tina Arena in a 1999 syndicated UK interview.
Summer valiantly squeezes in three new tunes. There's My Life, a tingly Last Dance-esque anthem from her forthcoming stage musical, Ordinary Girl; I Will Go With You, a grand English-language interpretation of a revered Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman ballad replete with new lyrics and time-sensitive house beats; and Love Is The Healer, on which Summer chants with earth-mama conviction over an insinuating tribal groove.

- Larry Flick, Vibe, August 1999 

Summer also previewed two songs from Ordinary Girl, her first musical theater effort. My Life, which segues from a ballad into a peak-hour club stomper (à la Last Dance) has "hit" written all over it. In fact, so infectious is this song that, days after the show, we still find ourselves singing its chorus ("This is my life/This is my song/Standing right here/Out on the stage/This is my life").

- Michael Paoletta, Billboard February 20, 1999

My Life is an equally shinning VH-1 concert and CD moment, composed by Summer, Peter Waterman, Paul Berry and Gary Miller. It's gleaned from the forthcoming musical Ordinary Girl -- created by Summer and based on her incredible life story. "The 'My Life' project is a 'conthearto,'" advised Donna, further explaining, "That's a name I coined describing a combination of a concert and theatrical music piece."

- Charles E. Rogers, New York Amsterdam News, June 24, 1999

BONUS AUDIOCLIP: Donna talking about My Life in a 1999 syndicated UK interview.
Before easing into the heartfelt ballad If There Is Music There, Summer explained that the song arrives at a point in the musical when issues of "following your dreams" are confronted. As she hit the last note of the song, there wasn't a dry eye in the house - including hers.

- Michael Paoletta, Billboard February 20, 1999

I Will Go With You, a pulsating, fully orchestrated, semi-operatic dance track, is positive proof of Donna's ability to transcend musical eras, styles, genres and even language. It was originally a European hit entitled Con Te Partiro, recorded by Andrew Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. Summer wrote new, English lyrics and recruited producer Hex Hector (Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton) to help give it new life. "It's a beautiful song that I'm very proud of and love to sing," said Summer, adding, "In essence it musically reflects where I've been, where I am and where I'm going."

- Charles E. Rogers, New York Amsterdam News, June 24, 1999

Scheduled for commercial release July 7, I Will Go With You went to radio June 1, according to [Frank] Ceraolo, who envisions the single making inroads initially at dance-leaning rhythm-crossover and AC stations, and then spreading to mainstream top 50.pop formats. Rhythmic top 40 WKTU New York began playing the buoyant track May 13. "We've been getting great phone response," says Frankie Blue, the station's PD. "Donna's been a core artist for the station since day one, so people are really excited to hear something fresh and new from her." Retailers agree. "Donna always does great for us," says Tim Devin, GM of Tower Records' Lincoln Square location in New York. "I'm looking forward to this album. I see it immediately popping into the store's top 25." 

- Michael Paoletta, Billboard, May 29, 1999

Produced by Hex Hector, and co-produced by Mac Quayle, I Will Go With You -which is Summer's reinterpretation of Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman's Time To Say Goodbye- features incredibly fab remixes by Warren Rigg, Welcome Production, Rosabel, Messy Boys, Richie Santana, Trouser Enthusiasts, and club 69. Also included is an extended edit by Hector. Unfortunately, the single, with its dizzying array of restructuring, and bonus track (The Hector-remixed Love On And On originally recorded by the UK's Lorraine Kato) won't be available commercially until July 6." But for those who just can't wait, the album will be in stores two weeks before that notes [Frank] Ceraolo. Of course, that doesn't help Summer's vociferous fans who want anything relating to the singer sooner rather than later, especially these highly coveted and much-in-demand mixes. 

- Michael Paoletta, Billboard, May 29, 1999

For I Will Go With You, which was produced By Hex Hector and Mac Quayle, Summer reinterpreted Time To Say Goodbye, an operatic ballad originally recorded in Italian by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman and included on Bocelli's Romanza album. "I told Bruce (Sudano, Summer's husband) that I wanted to do the consummate dance recording of the century." explains the singer, who is an ardent Bocelli fan, and whose songs are published by Sweet Summer Night Music (ASCAP). "While we were talking, Andrea's version of the song was playing in the background. All of a sudden, Bruce said, Turn it off--that's the song'. So, since no official English lyrics exist, I decided to reinterpret it." 

- Michael Paoletta, Billboard, May 29, 1999

The first single released from the new album, I Will Go With You, was first a hit when recorded in Italian by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. Summer wrote new English lyrics and transformed the ballad into a dance recording. The song retains much of the original lushness but is now unmistakably a Donna Summer song. The second studio track, Love Is the Healer, blends a wide array of sounds and styles. The message, however, comes purely from her heart. About commercial appeal, Donna sighs, 'When it's successful, it's supposed to be, when it's not, it's not;' she says. "I don't read reviews."

- Genre, August 1999

BONUS AUDIOCLIP: Donna talking about I Will Go With You in a 1999 syndicated UK interview.
Love is the Healer, produced by Nathan DiGesare, who co-wrote it with Donna, is another new song, hauntingly powered by sexy, floor-filling beats and Summer's soaring vocals.

- Charles E. Rogers, New York Amsterdam News, June 24, 1999

The Tracks:

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Click the audio icon for a streaming MP3 clip

1. MacArthur Park (J. L. Webb)
2. This Time I Know It's For Real (M. Stock/ M .J. Aitken/ P. A. Waterman/ D. Summer)
3. I Feel Love (D. Summer/ G .Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
4. On The Radio (D. Summer / G. Moroder)
5. No More Tears (P. Jabara/ B. Roberts) *duet with Tina Arena
6. Dim All The Lights (D. Summer)
7. She Works Hard For The Money (D. Summer/ M. Omartian)
8. Bad Girls (D. Summer/ B. Sudano/ E. Hokenson/ J. Esposito)
9. Hot Stuff (P. Bellotte/ H. Faltermeyer/ K. Forsey)
10. My Life (D. Summer/ P. Waterman/ P. Berry/ G. Miller)
11. Last Dance (P .Jabara)
12. Love Is The Healer (D. Summer/ N. DiGesare)
13. I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro) (F. Sartori/ L. Quarantatto/ D. Summer)
Video Only: Someone To Watch Over Me
Video Only: If There Is Music There 
Video Only: Riding Through The Storm 
Video Only: I Don't Wanna Work That Hard 
Video Only: Nobody 
B-Side to I Will Go With You: Love On And On

 

 

Other Stuff:

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I Will Go With You is Donna's reinterpretation of Andrea Bocelli's song, Time To Say Goodbye.
Tickets for the Live & More Encore taping were not offered for sale. To get them, fans had to win them from one of two New York radio stations. A small number of tickets were also made available to members of the fan club. [And now you know why in the intro to On The Radio Donna says, "I know all of you do this, because you wouldn't be here otherwise."]
Donna had injured her back several days before the taping and was afraid the taping might have to be cancelled. If she was still hurting that night, you sure couldn't tell.  :-)
The night of the taping was the first time Donna had sung Nobody for a live audience. It was a brand new song, and she and the band only had a few days to rehearse it.
At one point in the show, you see a fan give Donna a bouquet of white roses. That was the Fabulous Albert, and there were 50 roses in the bouquet - because at the time Donna was 50. Much later, a fan named Jonathan gave her a bouquet of red roses.
Although the only music video made for the Live & More Encore CD was I Will Go With You, VH1 ran the live clip of On The Radio as a music video in the weeks preceding the debut of the special.
After Last Dance, it was obvious that the audience didn't want Donna to leave and that she didn't want to leave either. So she opted to sing Last Dance one more time just for fun. That second Last Dance never made the video, but people watching the original VH1 broadcast saw a brief clip (right before a commercial break) of Donna saying that she would do it again.
Live & More Encore was VH1's highest rated special for a solo performer.
Before Live & More Encore was recorded, the original version of Love On And On leaked to New York radio. It became very popular with the listeners and was finally released officially as a remix on the b-side of I Will Go With You.
Before the acoustic set, Donna introduced that section as the "unplucked" section of the show rather than the unplugged section in a minor slip of the tongue. (That made the video but not the CD.) Some crazy webmistress picked right up on that, so if you run into the term "unplucked section" anywhere on the site, that's why. (Yes, I'm easily corrupted and yes, people look at me VERY strangely if I accidentally do that in the real world!  LOL )
Donna sang two songs from her musical Ordinary Girl. The first was If There is Music There, and that was the first time she performed that song in concert. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when she sang it - including her own! The other song was My Life which she had been doing in concerts for a couple years (usually along with No Ordinary Love Song, also from the musical.)
The live songs were edited differently on the CD and the video releases. For instance, the CD version of MacArthur Park contains the whole bridge, whereas the video version is edited. (Grrrrrr..... the bridge is my favorite part!) And on She Works Hard For The Money, the CD version is shorter than the video version - because the video includes the band introductions.
Although Someone To Watch Over Me didn't make it to the Live & More Encore CD, it was included on a 2001 charity CD called Keeping The Dream Alive.
There were several official single releases of I Will Go With You. There was the regular CD single, then a CD maxi-single part one followed by a CD maxi-single part two with different mixes. Then there were several promotional 12" singles - and that was just here in the USA! There were other singles with other mixes released overseas.
In what I consider to be the bonehead play of the century, Love Is The Healer was never released as a commercial single here in the US. However, there were several promotional 12" singles and one promotional CD maxi-single. The single was released commercially in several other countries though. (Apparently, I'm still not over it!   LOL)
Live & More Encore and I Will Go With You consistently did better in sales than in radio airplay.
Live & More Encore was released in several formats. There was the CD, the audio tape, the vinyl, the minidisk, the videotape, the video/CD combo pack and finally the DVD. And out Asia, there was even a VCD release. Also, the Japanese release of Live & More Encore contains extra tracks. There are three additional mixes of I Will Go With You included. (I believe, but am not 100% sure, that all the mixes included on the Japanese CD were available on the various single releases.)
Okay, this one is for all you guys on the Endless Summer forum who RUINED the album cover for me! The front cover shows Donna in mid-song, holding the microphone. Some people (whose minds shall remain in the gutter  ;-) ) were convinced that it looks like Donna is holding something else. I won't say more, since I do get some kids visiting the site, so just use your imaginations. Needless to say, I've never been able to look at that picture the same way again. So to all those perverts on Endless Summer - I sentence you to 1000 hours of nothing but Shout It Out! (And I don't mean the album, I mean 1000 hours of just that song!   :-p )

Purchase Info:

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Live & More Encore can be found in several formats at Amazon.com, Amazon UK and other on and offline vendors. (Because the album is still available in so many formats, the Amazon link will take you to a page of search results.)

 

     

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