Girls’ night out at Power Balance Pavilion
Local radio station V101.1 hosted the Freestyle Explosion at Power Balance Pavilion, with radio personality Dr. Don Sainte-Johnn as the emcee and Expose headlining. Giving Expose top billing was a brilliant idea, since they are credited for bringing the freestyle genre of music to the forefront back in the ’80s.
The Freestyle Explosion revisits the freestyle sound that was popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s, an underground mixture of Latin hip-hop, electronic supplementation and the occasional house grooves. Despite their brief stint in the spotlight, the artists who brought freestyle music to the masses have been immortalized on the club circuit, with a die-hard fan base throughout Europe and in most major cities in the United States.
Friday night was definitely girls’ night out, as hundreds of women packed into Power Balance Pavilion, with a few guys dragged along, to see Expose, Lisa Lisa, Shannon, Debbie Deb and Cynthia. And there was some eye-candy thrown in for the ladies, like Johnny O, and Nice & Wild.
First up was David Torres, one of the three original members of Nice & Wild. He opened with “Diamond Girl,” gyrating across the stage, much to the delight of all the women. I’m not so sure the guys were happy with the opening, but, hey, they could have grown a pair and stayed home. I found his vocals flat, but he put on a good show.
Next up was Cynthia singing a medley of her hits, including “Change on Me” and “Gonna Get Over You.” She was less energetic than the others, but she made up for it with her stellar vocals.
Following Cynthia was Johnny O singing a medley of his hits, which included “Fantasy Girl.” He was joined by Cynthia, and together they performed a great rendition of “Dream Boy/Dream Girl.” Johnny O was very energetic, eliciting screams from all the women and a few men “” but I’m sure you’ll never hear them admit it.
Debbie Deb came out with three ladies from the audience. She only introduced them as her backup dancers, without mentioning anyone by name. She sang two of her hits, “Lookout Weekend” and “When I Hear Music.” She sounded great.
The Cover Girls, consisting of Evelyn Escalera, Lorrain Munoz and Sabrina Nieves, came out singing “Wishing on a Star” and a number of other hits, ending with “Inside Outside.” They did a great job and had some old-school choreography going, which I think is just classy.
Shannon came out and sang several of her hits, closing with “When I Hear Music.” Prior to taking the stage, several enlisted soldiers were introduced to the crowd. Shannon and Debbie Deb had performed in Iraq, where she met Specialist Gonzalez, Sargent Gray and Specialist Bradford.
I spoke to Bradford prior to the show, as he was sipping his cocktail ““ compliments of Shannon. Hailing from the 49th Military Police Brigade, Bradford first met Shannon at Camp Liberty. He said Shannon committed to the troops during her visit in Iraq, and that they were welcome at any show, wherever she was playing. As she tours across the country, her tour manager has been keeping in touch via Facebook and phone, letting troops know her schedule and arranging VIP passes. All three soldiers wanted to be sure I mentioned how thankful they were to Shannon for giving them the opportunity.
Shannon danced with the soldiers during her performance. Having two left feet, as I do, Bradford struggled with his moves, but he gave it a valiant effort. Both Gonzalez and Gray were having a great time, getting down with Shannon.
After a brief intermission, the concert really took off with Lisa Lisa jumping up on stage. She played a number of hits, including “Can You Feel the Beat,” “Lost in Emotion” and “Kiss Your Tears Away.” She had the audience up on their feet the entire set. She sounded great, while her two male dancers rocked the stage. She looked like she was having a great time, showing us her infectious smile. From my perspective, Lisa Lisa should have been headlining, but I get it.
Finally Expose arrived singing “Seasons Change.” They sounded good and had a well-choreographed routine going. They sang several hits,
ending with “Point of No Return.” While they did a fantastic job entertaining the crowd, I believe Lisa Lisa stole the show. By the time they were finished, many people had already started leaving. This may have been due to the concert going well past 11:30 p.m.
It was fun watching young and old enjoy a bit of old-school music. I didn’t mind either. Let’s face it “” there was a bit of eye-candy there for the guys, too.