Live review: Donna Summer Sells Out the Hollywood Bowl

Disco diva Donna Summer played two sold-out nights at the Hollywood Bowl over this past weekend. The mixed crowd of youngish flamboyant gays and older sequin wearing disco queens from decades past packed the infamous Hollywood arena to see the queen of disco in the flesh. Playing from a great collection of 17 years of disco, pop and dance, Summer pulled from her new album Crayons as well as her older more famous disco tracks.

The first act was lackluster with her newer song’s failing to connect with the audience. Donna herself looked great throughout her numerous costume changes going from an orange African inspired dress to a swanky purple full-length. But her performance was stiff and she didn’t actually dance at all. Although she kind of waddled around, the stage design was quite innovative with hi-resolution screens changing colors and shapes to match the vibe of each song. The band was of course, quite good, as is to be expected for such a legacy artist.

By the time her second act rolled around, Donna began to loosen up, playing the old sexy beat-pumping disco fans had come to see. She raged through classics “No More Tears,” “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff” bringing fans to their feet for some booty shaking. Playing “Last Dance” as her encore (duh), Donna left a good impression overall but there were still some kinks with her performance. What distinguishes Summer from other artists in her age group—Cher, Tina Turner, Madonna—is that her age has actually seemed to slow her down. In short, she’s not really working hard for her money, but it still won’t be her last dance.

Words: Nick Rabinovitch