A*Teens wsg/ Baha Men, LMNT, Jump 5 & Play
(DTE Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI – August 2nd ‘02)
Just when you pop fans thought this city couldn’t get any hotter, in rolled the ‘Pop ‘Til You Drop’ Tour. Swedish headliners the A*Teens had brought along the poptastic line-up that included Play, LMNT, Jump5 and even the Baha Men. But it was local woman Theresa Randazzo who began the show. Her one-woman, four-song performance backed by her powerful voice, especially made all the more poignant on her version of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ was really fabulous and got everyone in the mood.
Taking the stage directly after Randazzo was what turned out to be the real surprise of the night: Play. This group of four sweet Swedish girls sang their hearts out from the very first note, their colorful costumes and dance moves both tight and creative. Fresh off a tour with Destiny’s Child, Play are sure to become a household name sooner than later. Crediting their songs for their strength and independence these girls worked the crowd and got everyone going. Sharing information about their songs it was long blond-haired fourteen-year old Rosie who made the comment about the track ‘Cinderella’ that “Everyone knows the story of Cinderella and how she was saved by the Prince, but if anyone from Play was Cinderella, they would save the Prince !”. Singing tracks from their self-titled debut album, they performed ‘Us Against The World,’ ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,’ ‘Is It Love ?’ and the Olivia Newton-John cover, ‘Hopelessly Devoted.’ Despite their youth this group sends a message and delivers it in such a manner as to ensure safe arrival.
LMNT (pronounced Element) were the next group to perform. This diverse group, culled from the ‘Making The Band’ ashes of both two rejected semi-finalists and one unhappy finalist really know how to get the crowd pumped with their soulful pop songs. From the moment they ran out on stage to the Asian chimes of ‘Shangria-La’ they worked the crowd. LMNT sings right to you and never forgets that you the fan keep them where they are today. From their choreography to their perfect looks this is one group you won’t be disappointed with. Singing tracks from their debut All Sides, the boys gave us ‘Girl Crazy,’ ‘The Best,’ and the first single ‘Juliet.’ In fact, the only disappointing comment I heard was from a backstage worker who stated that "they looked better during their sound check, because they performed with their shirts off !"
Jump5 were the next to hit the stage. This group of five young rising stars sure used their dance backgrounds to the fullest extents as they literally jumped onto the stage and then all around it for the entire twenty minutes ! Wearing red caps and shirts with white pants their casual dress sense and words of empowerment were obviously aimed at letting their fans know that it is great to be an individual and not to follow trends and fads. Playing tracks from their soon-to-be-released album, All The Time In The World, they predominantly sang from their last self-titled album. As songs such as ‘Spinnin’ Around,’ ‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘All I Want’ broke forth to the delight of the young crowd it was clearly evident that Jump5 have known each other for much of their lives. They worked so well together to put on a great performance with their pop sound, unlimited energy and well choreographed dance moves.
As the Baha Men took the stage the audiences’ screams suddenly got noticeably louder. This fabulously talented group of men truly brought the vibe of the islands to Detroit, Michigan. And why not ? We already have the weather ! You couldn’t help but to move to this group their mix of drums, percussion, and other instruments creating an atmosphere of easygoing and enjoyable music. Their charismatic front men Marvin and Rick kept the crowd moving and grooving sharing vocals on such worldwide hits as ‘Move It Like This,’ ‘Best Years Of Our Lives’ and the Grammy-award winning ‘Who Let The Dog’s Out ?’ With their island beat and stage presence these Bahamian men were just what Detroit needed and are definitely one band you just have to see live. Watching drummer Moe and percussionist Monks, their eyes shut, bodies swaying, mouths singing to the music is just a sight to behold in itself ! The Baha Men won't ever disappoint you live, trust me.
As the clock struck 9pm, the sun now gone for the night, the cool air a treat for those having had to avoid the horrid humidity all day, everyone was ready for the A*Teens to take the stage. Screaming with anticipation the young crowd had sat patiently through a long days worth of entertainment and were now more than ready to see their Swedish stars perform. And luckily for all concerned the A*Teens delivered exactly what the crowd had wanted. Lining up directly beneath a huge A*Teens thousand light bulb-lit shining name backdrop the quartet kept their backs to their fans for only a few seconds more. Combined with the energy of their backing dancers, the A*Teens exploded onto the stage from atop the catwalk. Dressed in their version of school uniforms
(sorry guys - not anything your likely to see in your school) they quickly came to center stage to check out their adoring fans. As both their new album and tour name attest to, their music is best described as pop and is extremely upbeat. Early on in their set the band had a costume change and returned with a new look where the girls resembled the pink ladies (if they were in 2002) and the guys were dressed in black. They slowed the concert down for a song allowing the audience to participate by waving their hands in the air. Everyone in the group was wonderful about making contact with the fans by touching their hands whenever possible. Throwing signed T-shirts out into the audience the band broke back into song with cuts from their new Pop ‘Til You Drop album such as ‘Floorfiller,’ ‘Oh, Oh … Yeah’ and the energetic ‘Slam’ co-written by both Sarah and Dhani. With a move for every word the A*Teens didn’t miss a step. Each song was different from the next adding total variety to the show, but it was when they sang a couple of their ABBA covers (‘Mama Mia’ and ‘Dancing Queen’) that their true fans suddenly upped their vocal tempo. Overall, this was a great show for any fan of pop music and for those 7,000 fans that attended they most certainly didn't go home disappointed.
Reviewed by Lynn Opperman