photos by Dan Savoie
With a string of hits and a flashy light show, Cuban-American rap star Pitbull roared into Vancouver’s Roger’s Arena last night, but when nature calls, the pit might be a little more bark than bite. Armed with an array of hits, he delivered a full show of bass-driven tunes that abruptly ended with an announcement that he was suffering from a case of Montezuma's Revenge (diarrhea) he came down with in Mexico. He then had to run (pun intended) with no encore, leaving his band and the fans to finish the last song alone.
Stomach problems aside, Pitbull did a commendable job. He has a certain charm and charisma in his demeanor and he can certainly hold his own on a giant Roger’s Arena stage. He is, after all, no slump in the music business. With six albums and dozens of singles, including collaborations with Chris Brown, Mark Anthony, Ne-Yo, Akon, Lil Jon, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and dozens of others, he has a ton of material to draw from. And for the most part, he delivered, staying as close to a hits-only show as possible.
Surprisingly, Pitbull didn’t perform with dancers, but he did have a hot band joining him. Featuring keyboards, saxophone, guitars and two percussionists, the band, combined with a DJ mixing plenty of samples, gave the sound a strong and very real sounding flavour.
There was a couple glitches throughout the show, but the fans were forgiving as Pitbull delivered hit after hit, including I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho), Hotel Room Service, Give Me Everything, his latest hit International Love, and an outstanding version of Rain Over Me with a video of Marc Anthony on the giant video screen accompanying him. In the middle of the show, Pitbull performed a melody of hits he’d performed with others, that brought the best out of the crowd. The whole show was surrounded by club hits and samples of Black Eyed Peas, Martin Solveig with Dragonette and LMFAO.
As entertaining as Pitbull was, opener Flo Rida stole the show with a strong performance featuring his own full band, DJ and four big-bootie dancers.
With a delayed start that lasted close to an hour, Flo Rida finally hit the stage with a boombastic punch as he ripped through his number one hit Right Round. He came out wearing a motorcycle helmet and a jacket with spikes on the shoulders. But by the end of his show, Flo Rida stripped himself of the jacket and his shirt as he was escorted bare-chested through the audience on the shoulders of one of his entourage.
Flo Rida held nothing back as he went through hit after hit, including his other number one hits Low and Wild Ones, as well as In The Ayer, Sugar, Club Can't Handle Me and Good Feeling. He did interupt the flow of things when he introduced 16-year old Toronto singer Tyler Medeiros, who danced and lip synced his way through a couple songs, including his lone hit single Say I Love You (Please Don't Go) which has been featured on MuchMusic. Flo Rida recently signed the youngster to his own IMG Label Company.
Flo Rida has the certain something that makes him a star. He was entertaining, charming and down-to-earth. When he invited several local women on the stage to dance during one of the songs, he quickly noticed a young girl on the stage and took to her. He placed his gold necklace around the girls neck and held her hand as they swayed around the stage during the song. At the end of the show, Flo Rida handed out several roses to some of the women in the audience. It was a nice touch and a good closing to a really entertaining performance.