Many fans dream of one day meeting Tina, and for some, this dream comes true. However, our next super fan took it just one step further: he DANCED on stage with Tina! No, this is no wildest dream, this was reality. Donovan shared the stage with the Queen three times during the 2000 Twenty Four Seven tour. Read about his amazing experiences in this month’s interview!
Hometown: Dallas, TX, USA
Occupation: singer/performer in a local band
Favorite Tina song: Proud Mary
Favorite Tina album: What’s Love Got To Do With It? (soundtrack)
Favorite Tina tour: Twenty Four Seven tour
Donovan has been a Tina Turner fan all his life – since Tina’s 1984 comeback with What’s Love Got To Do With. His first recollection of Tina is seeing the video to that song on MTV, and being impressed by her hair. When his mother told him that the woman on television was actually 45 years old, he was hooked. And when he later realized that this was the same singer who performed ‘that Rollin’ On The River-song’ that he was singing in the car all the time, it was the start of a lifelong Tina-fanship. He followed Tina throughout the USA during her 2000 Twenty Four Seven tour, when she actually invited him on stage with her – an experience of a lifetime!
What was the first thing that attracted you to her?
I would have to say a combination of her voice and appearance. After my mom told me how old she was, I was amazed that anyone in their 40’s could look so young. But her voice really caught my attention.
When did you first go to a Tina concert and what was it like?
1997: Dallas, Texas, during the Wildest Dreams tour. I can’t even begin to describe it. I only knew Tina from watching her on TV: it’s like a fantasy world. You can never get to it. It’s like it’s something that you can ONLY see or hear on TV, or a CD; it’s hard to imagine that you can actually see her live and in person.
To see my favorite singer in front of me and being in the same building while she is singing live and dancing and putting on a show is an experience that I still can’t describe. The energy, the show, everything about it! My very first concert, and an experience I will never forget!
What are your fondest Tina memories?
Definitely dancing on stage with her: Read the whole story at the end of the interview!
What is the importance of her music and the Tina fandom in your life?
Her music is very important to me because you can find a Tina song, or an Ike and Tina song for that matter, for ANY situation. Not to mention her songs are happy songs majority of the time: I can play Tina and be in the worst mood and after hearing just a few songs, my mood will change to happy and excited in a matter of minutes.
How do other people react to you being such a big fan?
A lot of them understand. Some people I have to educate, but in the end they understand how and why Tina is a big part of my life; and why she is a legend. And I’m wearing a Tina Turner shirt more often than not: so when you are around me, you are constantly around Tina as well!
What other music do you like besides Tina?
I love all kinds of music. I am singer myself in cover bands, so I have to know and listen to a wide variety of music. Pop of course is my favorite. But it’s hard to say that I love one genre of music more than the other: I can find love in all types of music.
Will Tina ever tour again?
I believe she will. I do not think it will be as huge as the last tour. I mean, a lot of fans said she wouldn’t do it again after the Twenty Four Seven tour, especially for it had been such a long tour. But she proved us wrong. I think she will do it again because I believe she still can. It may not be as long as in the past, but I see her doing something soon!
And then, and then, and THEN… dancing on stage with Tina?
It all started when I got the word that Tina was going to go on tour again for the last time back in 2000. As soon as I heard that, I made a goal to myself to see at least 10 shows. I was living with my parents, I only had my car bill to pay and I was not in school, so this was the perfect time to do it. As tickets went on sale at Ticketmaster, I bought tickets for only a few shows as I was hoping for better seats to be released on the day of the show.The first show was in Minneapolis. So I landed, got to the hotel, and went straight to the mall where the Ticketmaster outlet was. I waited and waited there for about 5 hours. Finally, 3:30 came. I already had a ticket in the 35th row on the floor that I had purchased when the show went on sale, so I knew I was in, no matter what. I went to the counter and asked the lady there to check for me one last time. As soon as she checked, her eyes got real big and she gasped and looked at me and said: “Front row!”. I screamed so loud, I had people outside the department run in because they thought something was wrong. I couldn’t believe that I was going to see my favorite singer front row.
When I got to the arena, there are so many people handing out magazines, scalping tickets, taking pictures, buying merchandise, everything. It was great. I looked up at the stage no more than a foot away from me almost, and I said to the security people behind the ropes: “Tina is going to be right there! She is going to sweat, spit, look all over the front row, WHICH I AM IN!”. The lights went out. I stood up and just went nuts. Something just came over me. The music started for I Wanna Take You Higher, and I am
just jumping up and down in front of my seat. The lights come on, and there she is. I almost fell over. It was awesome. During the concert, Tina and I bonded on numerous occasions. I will never forget the very first time she noticed me during Absolutely Nothing’s Changed she sees me singing and dancing, and she points at me and calls me a fool! At the end of the show, she came over to my side of the stage, looks at me in the eye with a huge smile, says ‘thank you’ to me, and then blows me a kiss. I was frozen. She blew me a kiss and said thank you to me. I was shocked.
Tina performing ‘Higher’ in Minneapolis – see Donovan jumping at the end of the clip!
I went to several other concerts, and during almost all of these shows, Tina and I connected. I also got to talk to the dancers and backing vocalists before and after shows, and I had the opportunity to meet a few of the band members. Everyone is so cool and so nice! In San Antonio, during Let’s Stay Together, something very exciting happen to me. Patrick, who is Tina’s personal security guard, came over to me and asked me what my name was. He told me that Tina wanted to pass a message over to me saying that she is very excited that I am enjoying the show, and that she is also very glad that I am having a good time. I almost started crying. I couldn’t believe that Tina would take time to say that about me.
Another highlight was in Kansas City. I was in the second row center with a friend of mine, and Tina had just finished singing Help. She looks around and spots me and starts laughing. Then Tina says this in front of 30,000 people, “I have to take this time to say something. There is this kid in my audience who has been to many of my shows on this tour, and everytime I see him, he reminds me so much of my past piano player Kenny Moore. And everytime I see him, it’s as if Kenny’s spirit has taken over him to let us know that he is still with us, and I am grateful for that. Could you give him a big round of applause please!” And the arena applauded like mad.
Time went on, and I went to several other shows. I hung out a lot with Tina’s band members and dancers, and they told me that Tina would often mention me to them! Then came a three-month break in the tour, when they went over to Europe. I got to the first show of the second leg of the tour in Boston, and had a front row center seat. Now I cannot get this picture out of my mind: when Tina came on and started ‘Higher’, me and all the people in the front row were jumping up and down. She looks down at us as she is singing, and for some reason when she glanced at me, she starts laughing as she looks away. This show was awesome because it was great to see her again after all this time, even if it was only three months.
So I went to several other shows again, but then came Dallas. This was the night that I will NEVER EVER forget as long as I live. At
Reunion Arena, the second row was full of Fanclub members from all over the world. We all agreed that this night was Tina’s best show that we had ever seen. Everything was perfect. The crowd was wild, the music was clear and loud, Tina was energetic, fans all over the place, people going nuts left and right. It was more than a party: it was a celebration of Tina Turner. Until Proud Mary, the show went as normal. But then, after the band introductions she does and says something that totally was BEYOND unexpected.
“I want to do something now, that I haven’t had the opportunity to do before now, but I must take advantage of this because the tour is coming to an end. I am going to bring someone on stage with me now, to perform the song… He’s been in my audience for about 25 shows, and we’re gonna bring him up right now.” And she looks right at me!
I look back at her and give her this look like, WHATEVER, I am not going up there. She looks back at me and says, ” Oh yes, come on, don’t give me that look, come on, come on, come on.” I am still frozen, I can’t move at all. Then my friend Mike yells at me, “Get up there!” and he pushes me. And once I started going, I started jogging up towards the stage. I got on stage and I looked up, and Tina is there with her arms wide open, and we just embraced. She hugged me tightly. She is so beautiful up close, and smells so good. After the ten second hug, she looks at me and says: ” You’re gonna be good right? You’ll behave yourself?” She smiles at me and goes back over to the microphone. “The girls have met him, I haven’t. This is the first time that I have been close to his face, except out there.” While she was talking, Solange, Ivona, and Clare [the dancers] were giving me high five’s and we couldn’t believe that Tina actually let me come on stage with her. Then, Tina starts Mary… Proud Mary.
I immediately got right into it. From the beginning to the very end of the song I did the entire dance. I have seen it so many time that I just knew it by heart. Every move that I did, the crowd went WILD! Tina kept looking over at me and just started laughing everytime she saw me. After the song ended, I was pulled behind the stage by the girls. I get behind the stage and the girls were just going nuts. They were hugging me and complimenting me saying how they couldn’t believe that I knew all the steps. Tina then comes back there and runs past me with her thumbs up with a big smile on her face. I then got back to my seat during Nutbush as I was cheered on by people on the way back to my seat. After Nutbush was over, Tina took her bow with the rest of the dancers, and then looks over at me and blows me a kiss and says: “Donovan, you’re a star!”. I said thank you to her as she left the stage. All the sudden, I was mobbed by everyone. Everyone knew me by my first name because Tina told everyone before we performed. I signed at least 200 things, and took at least 500 pictures. I LOVED IT! It was awesome. This was the best night of my life!
Donovan performing Proud Mary with Tina in Dallas.
Next stop for me were two shows in Las Vegas. For some reason, the crowd was weak during the first show. From the very beginning of the show until the end, the audience did not stand up at all. I was in the second row, and she starts Proud Mary. At the beginning of that song, people usually stand up and clap, but not this crowd; they still sat down. So right in the middle of the introduction, Tina stopped the song. “Wait, wait, wait, stop stop stop.” She grabbed the microphone and said: “I am going to do something that I don’t normally do. There is this kid in the audience who knows every move, he knows every step, and I am going to have him perform this next song with us, and his name is Donovan.” I shook my head at her and said: “No no no – that’s okay!”. She looked at me and said: “Donovan, get up here now!”. When I got on stage she said to the audience: “This is Donovan, and he is always down front, and he has also been annoying for the last 18 shows he has been too.” Everybody laughed. Then she starts Proud Mary again. This time, everyone in the arena is on their feet. This time I was more nervous because they were standing up watching me like a hawk, and Tina and everyone else knew it: but I did okay! The next night in Vegas was a lot better. The people knew how to party that night.
Then my last stop was Anaheim, the very last show on the tour. This show was awesome, but sad to see it come to a close. And, I did get to perform with her One Last Time! I knew it was going to happen, so I was prepared for it this time; I didn’t make any mistakes at all. After it was over, Tina said her good-byes to everyone, and people who understood what was going on that night cried. Fans cried, the dancers cried, everyone was sad that it had to come to an end. I will never ever forget that night. I am happy and very thankful for Tina Turner picking me out of all the fans she has in the world to perform with her and taking a chance on me. She is the best!