'Club MTV' concert was missing a dance floor, much of an audience

August 08, 1991|By Nestor Aparicio | Nestor Aparicio,Evening Sun Staff

It only took a few minutes of observation at last night's "Club MTV" concert at the Arena to realize that something was definitely out of kilter.

With six of the networks' hottest acts together for what was little more than a glorified dance party with a bunch of set changes, the building was missing a dance floor.

Consider the lack of a crowd -- just 3,000 showed in the cavernous 12,000 seat hall -- and it almost becomes obscene that someone associated with this tour didn't think to give the overzealous throng of mostly teens a place to shake it loose to the sounds of Tara Kemp, Color Me Badd, Gerardo, C&C Music Factory, Tony Toni Tone and Bell Biv Devoe.

And with the show stretching well over four hours, it might have been nice to leave the lights down between sets, giving the crowd that survived five set changes of more than 15 minutes each a place to congregate.

Instead, while C&C belted out power dance numbers like "C'mon Let's Sweat" and Gerardo rapped his way through "Rico Suave," the kids had their knees buckling from hitting the backs of the seats in front of them.

Too bad too, because the show was a stellar mix of today's urban sounds.

From the soft pop sound of Kemp through the Latino rap of Gerardo to the fresh hip-hop tunes from Tony Toni Tone and BBD, the show was well-organized and never lost its energy.

The structure of the show, allowing the first three acts less than 30 minutes and the last four a bit more time, made it easy to see fresh faces and hear different sounds, keeping the crowd not only interested but enthusiastic.

Instead of losing energy by the time BBD hit the stage at 10:45, the audience worked itself into a frenzy when the trio did its big hit, "Poison."

Of the six, Tony Toni Tone turned in the most impressive set, playing 45 minutes of uninterrupted, unadulterated fun.

The group even managed to turn the theme song from "The Jeffersons" TV show, "Movin' On Up," into a hip-hop song.

"If your momma is in the house I want to see her doing it [dancing] too," screamed leader Dwayne Wiggins.

In addition to stealing the show with a revved-up version of "Feels Good," the group also held its own with strong vocals in "Southern California" and "Whatever You Want," a pair of ballads.

After nearly a year on the road, it is obvious that BBD also has its licks down quite well, and the members seem to revel in the fact that it has taken so little time for them to become a headlining attraction.

And from the reaction of the crowd when the trio stepped on stage in identical green blazers and yellow shirts, there was no arguing the point.

Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe are no longer the guys from New Edition.

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