Center Stage: Concert Reviews

in Entertainment/Music, Technology, TV & Books by

This past month, I had the privilege of attending a few concerts over a variety of genres. From reggaeton to rap to ukulele screamo, these concerts were certainly worth the memories (and phone storage).

iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina

Date: Nov. 3

Performers: Mau y Ricky, Manuel Turizo, Becky G, Nacho, Steve Aoki, Zion y Lennox, Nicky Jam, Pitbull, Farruko and Marc Anthony

For the past few years, it has been a tradition for my family and I to go to this show. This year, one of my best friends and her family joined us and we enjoyed the show together.

The lineup for the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina stays fairly similar each year. Past performers have included big names in Pop Latino music such as Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, Enrique Iglesias, CNCO and Camila Cabello. Although this year had a lineup consisting of some less popular artists, I was still excited to enjoy the show.

Essentially, the show is a series of mini-concerts. Each artist takes their turn on stage, and the entire show is broadcast to a Spanish television channel. Each artist usually performs four to five songs, then there is a small break before the next artist appears.

The biggest names of the night were Becky G, Nicky Jam, Pitbull and Marc Anthony. Each of the other artists performed their hearts out, using the salsa base in their music to get the crowd dancing (with the exception of Steve Aoki, who did the same with his electronic style of music). A mariachi accompanied Nacho in his performance, giving the show a more classic latino vibe.

Becky G’s performance graced the Fiesta Latina for her third consecutive year. Regardless of her rapidly booming music career, she stays true to her Latina roots and connects with the audience during her Miami performances. Pitbull, a regular performer since the annual show began several years ago, never fails to give his thanks to his hometown and puts his heart into each of performances. This year, Pitbull was the second-to-last performer and, as always, had the audience on their feet before the big finale.  

Well, the big finale wasn’t actually next; Farruko was. Farruko was by far the low point in the show. No dancers, no instruments, no backup singers. Only Farruko rapping as he walked back and forth on the stage with a large Gucci backpack over his stomach. While I’m still not sure why the organizers decided to place Farruko in between Pitbull and Marc Anthony on the lineup, it gave the audience a good chance for a bathroom break.

Not only was Marc Anthony the big finale, but also the award recipient for the night. On the night of the show, iHeartRadio bestowed Anthony with the Corazon Latino, or “Latino Heart,” an award that recognizes an artist’s contributions to the community and Latino genre as a whole. As soon as the music started, Anthony immediately had the audience members, regardless of age, dancing to his classic salsa music. Everyone came together, as one Hispanic community.

The Bandito Tour

Date: Nov. 4

Performers: twenty one pilots, with opening acts Max Frost and AWOLNATION

The buildup leading to this concert was by far the largest I’ve experienced in my life. The last time twenty one pilots last came to Fla. two years ago on their Emøtiønal Røadshøw tour, and I could not see them since the show was in Tampa. I bought the tickets for the Bandito tour within minutes of their release as I sat in an admissions information session during my college tours this past summer. I really, really wanted to go to this show.

My best friend junior Ashley Affolter and I have been waiting for this show for months on end. We may look ridiculous to non-clique members, but, for us, it was either go big or go home. (Photo/Joanne Haner)

Upon arriving at the BB&T Center wearing yellow duct tape and my twenty one pilots shirt, the overwhelming number of people waiting to get into the arena immediately showed me how much this show meant to others as well. Almost everyone was dressed in the Trench album color scheme: olive green, brown, black and gray with accents of bright yellow.

The show itself felt electrifying. The first opening act, Max Frost, though mostly unheard of, impressed me. His one-man band show demonstrated his catchy music and overwhelming talent and did exactly what an opening act should do: expose the artist to the already excited audience and set the mood for the concert.

The second opening act, AWOLNATION, gave an even more heart-pounding performance. A completely different sound from Frost, AWOLNATION had the audience jumping up and down with their loud shrieks and guitar solos. Never before had I seen an audience so engaged with an opening act performance.

The stage was all set for the main act. My seats, located close to the stage in the first row of the section to the far right, gave me a clear view of the general admission “pit” directly in front of me. As soon as Joshua Dun, the drummer and half of the alt-pop rock duo, came out onto the stage, torch in hand, the general admission group fled closer to the stage exactly like an ocean wave.

The energy of the crowd made the show an experience. Everyone was happy to be there to watch Tyler and Josh perform their hearts out. 

The highlight of the show might have just been because of the girl a few rows next to me. She had driven up to the show in Tampa the night before and knew that each member would run directly in front of us during certain songs in the show. Because she was kind enough to share this information with me, I could prepare for when each of the members came in front of me, and she even AirDropped me the videos she recorded since mine came out so poorly. 

Overall, the hype of the show was all worth it. Fearless in our rebel clothes, fans from all over came ready to enjoy the show, together.

Aubrey and the Three Migos

Dates: Nov. 13-14

Performers: Drake and Migos, with opening act Roy Woods

After being postponed for almost two months, fans from all over South Florida finally had the chance to watch “Aubrey and the handpicked dream-team” at the triple A.

The stage setup of the show was interesting. Rather than having a stage on one side of the venue, the Drake concert had its stage in the center of the floor with surrounding general admission seating. The stage served as a large screen that changed as the concert progressed. However, the set up did allow for the concert to rely heavily on the energy of the audience. Luckily, the fans delivered.

The actual concert itself focused mainly on the artists and less on the concert “extras.” The backup dancers rarely came on stage, coming out for a total of four songs. Essentially, the show consisted of the artists running, walking or jumping around the large rectangular screen-stage, but the fans were so loud that the energy was enough to mask any element that seemed lacking.

The first opening act, Roy Woods, had a relatively small audience. Personally, I had only heard of him through an Obscura a previous staffer wrote, but, after witnessing his live performance, definitely would like to look into more of his music.

Surprisingly, Migos acted as an opening act, but actually put on a show of their own. I don’t think the show necessarily qualified as a Drake AND Migos concert, though. It was more of a Drake concert with a Migos concert beforehand. That being said, Migos, known for their loud or mumbling rap, got the show started. The flashing lights and intense profanity had the audience chanting at a volume that was deafening. It was just enough to cover the awkward break that would take place before Drake came on.

Drake separated his concert into two halves: “A Side” and “B Side,” like a record. What separated the two was a performance of “Walk it Talk it,” in which Migos joined Drake on stage to perform the popular collab. Drake acknowledged multiple times that he would put everything he had into the show, and he definitely made it feel that way. For two hours he continuously ran around the stage, singing and rapping with every ounce of passion in the world.

My first rap concert can debatably be deemed a success, but I wouldn’t rank it as one of the best concerts I’ve been to.  

Joanne is the editor-in-chief of this publication. She is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Although this is only her second year on the newspaper staff, her passion for journalism is a crucial part of her life. Joanne is also a member of the Chinese Honor Society, Quill and Scroll and Key Club. She is treasurer of the English Honor Society and a secretary and historian for the Mu Alpha Theta math team. In her free time she enjoys writing or listening to music, and always welcomes new artist recommendations.

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