Sunday, August 24, 2008

A lovely Summer's evening at the Hollywood Bowl, Donna Summer that is...

Last night I enjoyed an evening with the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, at the Hollywood Bowl.

The concert showcased her first collection of original songs in 17 years, from her new album Crayons, plus a selection of her classic disco hits.
Dance the night away with Donna Summer in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 2008
It was a sold out show, so around 17,000 people (mostly gay men) danced the night away with Donna Summer in the lovely L.A. night air.
Donna Summer's new album of original material - Crayons
Following a lovely picnic beforehand, where we marveled (or bitched) at the fashion faux pas on display in the local park, we merrily took our seats for the 8.30pm start.

I really enjoyed the concert, but I couldn't help compare it to the other Bowl performances I had seen there Les Miserables in Concert and Tchaikovsky, Lang Lang & Fireworks, and can't help but think the fantastic venue is more suited to grander classical performances, rather than pop concerts.
Donna Summer in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, Saturday 23 August 2008
She's getting on a bit now and you couldn't help but notice when Miss Summer relinquished some of the trickier vocals to her backing singers, plus it was really jarring that this disco diva with new contemporary dance material and pumping classic disco hits wasn't able to move about enough to do them justice. Sadly, it just wasn't the same. 
Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 2008
Saying that, I do like the songs from her new album, Crayons, and had already downloaded my favourites a while back for my gym playlist, so I enjoyed her new material - 'Mr. Music', 'Stamp Your Feet', 'Fame (The Game)', 'I'm A Fire', 'Bring Down The Reign' and more.
Donna Summer in concert - The Hollywood Bowl, 23 August 2008
But it was really those classic dance anthems 'Bad Girls', 'Hot Stuff', 'On The Radio', 'No More Tears (Enough is Enough)' and 'Last Dance' that really got the crowds on their feet (myself included).

For me the biggest disappointment about the whole concert was her backing dancers.  Oh Lordy, they were abysmal.  
Donna Summer in concert at The Hollywood Bowl, Saturday 23 August 2008
Donna Summer is trying to to make herself relevant to today's youth with her new music and yet her three dancers choreography was so dated and reminiscent of bad 90's dancing, that rather than an homage to that time, it just looked really amateur.  It was really shocking and I couldn't stop thinking about it the whole concert.

So my top tip for you Miss Summer ditch your dancers, add a few more to make it more of a spectacle, and it would be a much better show. 

Luckily, the energy from the ecstatic crowd and classic disco tunes more than made up for it and there were a lot of happy faces at the end of the night.

By the looks of it that was my last Hollywood Bowl visit of the season (but you never know there's still time) and I'm really glad I've got to experience such a diverse selection this year.  

I can't wait for the 2009 season...

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