Welcome to Dave’s Diva Days 2024 from New York City! 1 city, 3 venues, 4 days and 8 incredible divas.
Night 1 Sunday January 28th: Donna De Lory and Niki Haris at The Green Room 42 (42nd St and 10th Ave), which is a small cabaret style venue located on the fourth floor of the Yotel Hotel. I’m not a fan of shared table seating but a gays gotta do what a gays gotta do. Donna and Niki are former backup singers and dancers for Madonna as well as talented solo performers. These smart business women plan their tour dates around Madonna’s, so fans like myself, can check out both shows.
I was lucky enough to score a “ringside” seat that included a post-show meet and greet with this dynamic duo. They stayed on stage for almost two hours performing songs off their EP “Two Friends”, solo songs (I especially enjoyed Donna’s early pop hits), and quite a few Madonna hits that had the crowd going crazy. The performance, banter and energy were all positive and love filled.
Night 2 Monday January 29th: The show that put my travel plans in motion, Madonna’s Celebration Tour at Madison Square Garden (31st-33rd St and 8th Ave). Madonna is notoriously late, so I had to book a hotel room because trains sometimes stop running before Madonna does. A DJ started right on time at 8:30, which is when I arrived. In my gay opinion, a DJ is a horrible opening act because it’s not a club and nobody is here to listen to other people’s music. The DJ played until 9:30 and at 10:00 Bob The Drag Queen sashayed onto the arena floor, parting the masses decked out as Madonna ala Marie Antoinette from her MTV VMA Awards “Vogue” performance. Now, Bob is a worthy opening act. He was amusing and hyped up the audience with his historical rundown of Madonna’s cultural significance before the queen herself took the stage.
The Celebration Tour is touted as Madonna’s Greatest Hits Tour, which is a rarity. She prefers to promote a new album and throw a few greatest hit crumbs to appease the fans. This tour is only classics and her song choices didn’t disappoint, spanning her forty-plus-year career. The stage had 3 arms that came out into the middle of the arena and a crane lifting parts of the stage, and sometimes Madonna, into the air. The staging is definitely geared towards the fans on the floor who spent thousands to be there. The fans, like myself, who still have tampons up their noses from the couple hundred-dollar nosebleed seats, had some obstructed views when screens projecting images dropped from the ceiling.
That being said, the costs of the ticket and hotel room was totally worth it. Madonna was on stage for almost two-hours solid and sounded great. Madonna knows how to make a spectacle and bring the drama. That’s what makes her the legend she is today, as she reminded us throughout the night. On my way out of the Garden, I bumped into Donna and Niki, almost literally since it was like hearing 80’s Wannabe sheep out of there. I got to thank them again for their amazing show. As much as I loved The Celebration Tour, give me an intimate cabaret show like theirs any day.
Night 3 Tuesday January 30th: Speaking of intimate, that’s an understatement when it comes to my final show at the club Heaven Can Wait (169 Avenue A) which is like a hundred-person capacity living room with a couple cozy booths shrouded in dim lighting, a small reading nook in back, and a long bar running down part of a wall with standing room around it that carried to the front of the stage.
I was thrilled when Twinnie brought her Unladylike Tour to the club along with three other female singer/songwriters. Openers can be hit or miss, however, Bonner Black opened and set the bar high. Her pop country sound left me excited to hear her upcoming album dropping later this month. I put her on the spot after the show, asking if she’d answer a few questions in writing for an upcoming post. She said yes, so stay tuned.
Next up was Eva Westphal, who described her style as a mix of gay and mental health. When she asked the audience if she should do more gay or more mental health songs, I love my New Yorkers for yelling out “gay” instantly. Eva made a good point that in certain circumstances, having a bunch of people yelling “gay” at a performer mid-set might not be a compliment. Her banter was just as enjoyable as her music. The positivity of her music was inspiring.
Sonia Leigh followed with her acoustic rock set. Think Melissa Ethridge unplugged. Her song “Booty Call” had me practically fist-pumping in celebration of girl-on-girl lovin’.
Twinnie closed out the almost non-stop three-hour night of music. I’ve been following Twinnie for a while but this was my first opportunity to see her live. Hearing someone recorded and seeing them live can be quite different. However, Twinnie is just as musically talented and vocally gifted as her recordings suggest. Her humor was on display, just as much as her heart, on her disco-ball-sequined sleeve.
The coolest thing about such an intimate show was how accessible the divas were, walking around and mingling with the crowd. There were a lot of their industry and personal friends in attendance. I had Eva and Twinnie at my booth (it was my booth, I was there first) a few times but didn’t totally fan girl. besides telling Eva how great she was and making sure I could score merch after the show, because you know how I roll. I also learned a few things about Twinnie that made me an even bigger fan. #1: She really is a fan of these other female performers and extremely supportive. #2: Twinnie loves to sing along to other performers on stage like she’s doing back up. That annoys me when everyday people do it, but when Twinnie does it, it’s magical.
It’s rare for the stars to align and give me three must-see shows in a row, so I appreciate the gift the Diva Goddesses bestowed upon me. I cashed in every karma point I had on the books for this threesome, I’m sure. I got to be in my favorite place in the world with some of my favorite divas. For me, life doesn’t get any better!
At the time of this post, these tours and divas have upcoming dates. I totally recommend seeing all of them if they’re in your area, you won’t regret it. Info can be found here on their linked websites.