“I was just a dancer from New York trying to make it,” declared Jenny from the Block, better known as J. Lo or more formally, Jennifer Lopez.
She’s made it all right, judging by the party she threw Friday night for 9,000 fans at Xcel Energy Center.
This was no Bronx block party, but more like a Las Vegas soiree on a Beverly Hills budget.
After an old video clip caught young Jenny the dancer declaring her ambitions, the fully blossomed J. Lo arrived on a seven-tiered chandelier, crashing “Phantom of the Opera”-like from the rafters. Lopez, wrapped in chiffon, was seated in a rhinestone-encrusted circular swing attached to the chandelier. And, after she landed on the stage, J. Lo danced her butt — and chiffon — off. Girlfriend knows how to make an entrance.
In her 140-minute extravaganza, J. Lo had more costume changes than Cher (eight in the first nine songs and I stopped counting), more rhinestones and sequins than Dolly Parton’s closet (yes!), more dazzling ensemble dancing than Janet Jackson (right on!), more dance moves than winners on “World of Dance” (amazing!), more energy than all the air conditioners in the Twin Cities will use this weekend (wow!), more lip syncing than Britney Spears (who cares) and more filler than a congressional filibuster (enough with the hypeman/DJ).
Moreover, J. Lo was chattier than Adele (though not in a spontaneous way) and more personable than your average diva. She trotted out her 11-year-old daughter Emme for a brief duet at the end of “Limitless” (dressed in a matching voluminous red chiffon skirt), threw in a Selena song in Spanish that wasn’t even on her planned set list and gave an uplifting sermon about falling and getting up that came across like a mini-TED talk.
Like most arena spectacles, Lopez had the requisite pyro, confetti, lasers, fog, disco ball, big balloons, metallic streamers, giant video screens and indoor fireworks. But she didn’t clutter her stage with set pieces. She had to make room for her 20 very active dancers and five mostly invisible musicians, three very essential backup singers and one too-prominent DJ.
Lopez also had cool lights, especially clusters of light sticks that moved up and down, creating a waterfall effect.
In the end, though, J. Lo, the renowned triple threat actress/singer/dancer, is first and foremost a dancer. Remember what she told us about her ambition?
And dance she did. She tumbled like the world’s most expensive stripper on a chaise lounge during “Girls,” jumped like a cheerleader during “On the Floor,” romped like Charlie Chaplin on “Jenny from the Block,” and shook it like a Polaroid picture most of the night.
It seemed fitting that her three opening acts came from “World of Dance,” the TV talent show for which she serves as executive producer and judge. But this wasn’t a “World of Dance” showcase.
No, the premise of Lopez’s It’s My Party Tour is her birthday. She turns 50 on July 24, but she’s celebrating at all 31 concerts this summer. Since it’s her party, she ended it atop a massive three-tiered black cake, enveloped in too many yards of white chiffon as her dancers waved giant fans.
Before the song was over, she managed two costume changes onstage, balloons dropped from the rafters, confetti rained and J. Lo, in a nude body stocking, shook her mostly exposed derrière atop the cake.
Grand entrance, grander exit. That’s the way to celebrate your birthday when you’ve made it.