On Sunday August 29th 2010, I added concert number two for the weekend events when I returned to Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts (Filene Center) to see Donna Summer perform.
If have you not been to Wolf Trap, you are in for a real treat because the seating is very comfortable and if you are under the Pavilion, there is not a bad seat in the house as we found out for Tony Bennett on Friday as well. Summer came out to a jamming band and three dancers that were dressed in marching band attire. When the curtain she was standing behind was raised, the crowd saw her in an elegant purple dress and the applause was deafening as she sang the lyrics for the opening song.
Throughout the night, she did her classics, No More Tears (Duet with her sister Mary Bernard-Gaines who can sing in her own right as well), Hot Stuff, Last Dance, On The Radio and many others.
Midway through, she did a short tribute to Michael Jackson when she said, “Both Michael and I worked together many times and after he passed, I actually found out that we both shared our favorite song written by the legendary Charlie Chaplin called SMILE.” On that line, she started to sing and over the years, I have heard many sing this standard which I also love. Donna is right up there with the best.
Shortly thereafter, she told the audience she is currently in the works of doing a Broadway show based on her 2003 autobiography ORDINARY GIRL and she broke into DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE from the classic movie “Funny Girl,” staring Barbra Streisand. Donna let the crowd know that she had never done this before live (she actually did lots of Musical Theater in her early years). She had the crowd breaking out into a standing ovation upon her completion.
Donna Summer has always been one of those talents that honestly cannot be labeled even though she is known as “The Queen of Disco.” If you want to shake that label just listen to her cover of “I Will Go with You (Con Te Partiro).” Yes, you have a fast dance beat, but put that aside, and listen to the vocal.
Summer closed with “LAST DANCE” and the audience shared that dance with her and sent her stage right with their final ovation.
Sadly, the world lost this magical voice on May 17, 2012 at the young age of 63 of breast cancer! Donna, you are gone in the flesh, but never in our hearts! Your music was truly the soundtrack of my youth.