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She still works hard for the money

Donna Summer
The Venue at Horseshoe Casino
Hammond, IN
Aug. 23, 2009
Donna Summer Donna Summer Donna Summer

Review and photos by Andy Argyrakis

The list of legends who've visited The Venue at Horseshoe Casino grew a platform heel higher after Donna Summer turned the flexible hall into an updated version of Studio 54. Granted, the queen of disco may not exactly be touting one of the most respected genres in music history, but after strutting her "Hot Stuff" for 90 sweaty minutes in front of a sold out audience, it was apparent her catalogue's since transcended that stigma.

If anything, Summer's latest tour in support of last year's comeback collection Crayons (Sony) showcases the singer as a pop star in the purest form, who just so happens to have an affinity to the dance floor. Just ask Madonna, Moby, Britney Spears and Robbie Williams, who've all covered the soul siren at one point or another and continue to introduce her pulsating tunes to younger generations.

And it was truly a sea of all ages, races and levels of fabulousness as she stepped off the set with "MacArthur Park," followed-up firmly with "I Feel Love" (Madge eat your heart out) and the ongoing glitz of "Dim All the Lights." The balance of old and surprisingly infectious new continued with the fresh pair of the throwdown "I'm a Fire" and the stripped down shuffle "Sand on My Feet," alongside the old school club-thumper "On the Radio." While the crowd may not have come for the former, or fellow current cuts like "Stamp Your Feet" and "Mr. Music," they could easily compete with Rihanna or Ciara (plus Summer could probably teach those little girls a thing or two about longevity).

The back half of the show also encompassed her biggest smashes back to back: the female empowerment anthem "She Works Hard for the Money," the naughty "Bad Girls," the sizzling "Hot Stuff" and the ultimate swansong "Last Dance." All four may be best associated with a particular era, but they've since been emblazoned in the nightclub fabric to iconic degrees. Even at 60, Summer's still working as hard as ever for the green, but genuine joy appeared to trump money as the diva's current motive.

Author's Note: After The Venue's more prominent performers, expect a post-party immediately following the concert, which in this case, included a DJ spinning dance tunes of all eras for an absolutely ecstatic crowd.

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