We have security tonight. We’re too old to fight.
― Comedian Jimmy Medina
Last weekend was the best show the Honda Center in Anaheim has done. Over hundred thousand fans bumped and grind, (in a clean way) two-stepped, slapped each other’s hands as their favorite solo artists and groups from the 80s emerged from a deep freeze and turned up the heat. Where were you when you first heard Exposé (members Ann Curless, Jeanette Jurado and Gioia Bruno looked and performed great became permanent members in 1985) belted out their 1988 number one hit “Seasons Change?” Remember taking over the dance floor whenever you heard a Salt-n-Pepa track or quickly recognized the first well-known beats from the 1998 smash “Joy and Pain” by Rob Base and the late DJ E-Z Rock? Before comedian Joey Medina let loose the first artist of the night, he gave a small hint “Are you guys ready to take it back old school? Ready to bust a move?” On cue, London born Marvin Young came out as his alter ego Young MC and worked his magic. In between sips of water and talking to the fans, he dove right in to his 1989 classic “Bust a Move.”
Not to be undone, Harlem native Rob Base, gave the crowd a little DMX (“Party Up”), Rick
James (“Mary Jane”) and plunged into his 1988 winner “Joy and Pain.” It was a shame he did not go into the other well-known track “It Takes Two.” But hey, we will take what we can get and groove on. It was nearly impossible not to recognize the gravelly voice of Tone Lōc who brought out his version of the Sugar Hill Gang 1979 classic “Rapper’s Delight.” It’s clear that he and his boys were having a great time on stage digging on “Wild Thing” (1988) and that famous spiked cocktail “Funky Cold Medina” (1989). After Lōc’s crew stepped off, a little sugary sweet came into the blended mix. Who can forget the Jets? Who can forget this large talented Minneapolis-based family? Deny it if you want, but many of us loved dancing to the hip “Curiosity” and “Crush on You.” Sisters Elizabeth, Moana and brother Rudy added some fun choreography to their songs but took it slow with “You Got it All.” A most popular song at the high school dance no doubt.
To douse the high levels of testerone, the ladies added their high-octane dose of hypnotic beats and shake it down rhythms. The legendary radio personality Greg Mack, from the original 1580 KDAY fame, got it right when he gave fem-cees Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandi “Pepa” Denton the title on being the First Ladies of Hip-Hop. With Dee Dee “Spinderella” Roper on the wheels of steel, the women got down and busy spitting out best track after great track detailing their nearly 30-year career in the male influenced game. First, a mini tribute to the legendary Run DMC and Jam Master Jay with their 1986 infectious sounding “It’s Tricky.” The ladies wanted everyone to make sure that what they are about to give to the audience is the Salt –n- Pepa experience. It surely was. Songs from way back in the day— “Shake Your Thang (1988),” “Tramp” (1986) “Let’s Talk About Sex” (1990) —to the most well-loved “Push It” (1987) “Shoop” and “Whatta Man” (1993). Spin surprised everyone when she laid a little Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana on wax. The people went bananas!
More female power on the way with Miss Jody Watley formerly from the group Shalamar but came into her own with her 1987 songs “Some Kind of Lover,” “Don’t You Want Me,” and “Looking for a New Love.” Wearing all black, including a bejeweled jacket with her name emblazoned, her signature oversized heavy looking hoop earrings and her five dancers, three of which were kids, Watley wasted no time getting into the songs that made her a star back in the day. Not even a small technical problem, that occurred, prevented the long-haired raven beauty from singing. Lisa Lisa was just as exceptional. She looked good in a black jump suit exposing some cleavage and wearing aviator shades. Without the help of Cult Jam or Full Force, LL did get some inspiration by one particular dancer who expressed his obedience to her by moving seductively with heart. Using a nearby towel, she gladly wiped the sweat from the dancer’s chiseled abs before tossing it to some very grateful women. “This is why I still do this,” she tells the crowd. She was on point with all her popular hits, “Can You Feel the Beat?,” “Head to Toe”, “Lost in Emotion”, “Let the Beat Hit’em” and her 1985 debut single “I Wonder If I Take You Home,” and the soulful ballad “All Cried Out” (1986).
If Lisa Lisa was eye candy for the men then Steven B. did the same for the women. The handsome Miami-born singer rocked it with “Spring Love (Comeback to Me)” (1988), “Party Your Body” (1987) and the ultra-sexy “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” (1990). The shivers he gave the women was definitely worth coming to see this spectacular show.
If you missed it, log on to www.freestyleexplosion.com for when and where the next show will happen and buy the outstanding music available from previous concerts.