Donna Summer has long had one of the best voices in pop, though it was frequently overshadowed by a glitzy disco-diva image. Summer, who has just released her first album in three years, was in great form Saturday at the Universal Amphitheatre, wailing full-throttle on old hits like "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" and giving a surprisingly strong reading to other disco-era tunes such as "Sunset People" and "Bad Girls."
Summer kept a certain emotional distance from the last song, a tale about streetwalkers--she even changed some of the lyrics to downplay any hint of approval. Summer's much publicized religious reawakening since she recorded that 1979 song was evident--though far from overbearing--on an a cappella version of "Amazing Grace" and on "Celebrate Me Home."
A few times during the more than two-hour show she moved from playfully naughty and charming to downright chilly as she admonished one particularly boisterous section of the audience. Summer's disco-era seductiveness has given way to an independent accept-me-on-my-terms stance that, however risky in the fickle pop world, proves no less appealing.