Jennifer Lopez knew she was in Minneapolis on Saturday night. She mentioned the city a few times during her concert at the Armory, and she did a terrifically arranged medley of Prince songs. Plus, she joked that hers was the big show in town, not the Big Game on Sunday.
But, frankly, her 100-minute performance felt totally like Las Vegas, complete with chorus girls dancing with feather fans. That is to say that the dancing was spectacular and the energy was as high as the production values. Kudos to the choreographer and to the star, who dances with crisp, precise and varied movements. She worked it all night long.
Despite the flash, the show lacked the consistent sizzle of Vegas and the wow-the-audience electricity of arena rock and pop concerts. J Lo was friendly and engaging though not overly warm or sincere. Maybe it just wasn’t her crowd. The 8,000 fans didn’t respond enthusiastically to her personal comments (including her gushing about her exactly 1-year-old relationship with retired baseball hero Alex Rodriguez, who was in the Armory along with Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Hough and Mark Cuban). And the crowd didn’t demand an encore, though Lopez performed one.
Pink’s awe-inspiring performance with a nasty cold the night earlier at the Armory made Lopez’s show feel flat by comparison. There just wasn’t a consistent buzz in the full house on Saturday.
The Prince medley received the biggest reaction of the night. It was excellently conceived, starting with the opening lines of “Let’s Go Crazy” and then moving through snippets (and I do mean snippets like just the guitar riff from “Kiss” at one point) from “Gett Off,” “Darling Nikki,” “When Doves Cry” and finally ending with the explosive part of “Let’s Go Crazy.”
JLo is never going to win awards for her singing. Her voice is small, thin and sometimes chirpy. Her vocal limitations were especially apparent when Ne-Yo joined her on the Debra Laws’ ballad, “Very Special.” DJ Khaled also made a special appearance, hyping a series of his tunes while J Lo changed outfits.
The 48-year-old New Yorker with a Beyonce-like golden mane wore a series of spangly outfits, from gowns to catsuits. And there was a bustier that she sported for her stripper-on-a-couch number, “Girls,” a routine that should have stayed in Vegas, where Lopez has a concert residency running through September 2018.
The singer/actress was at her best Saturday when she was dancing the fiercest – to a series of recent hits by J. Balvin & Willy William, Lil Pump and Camila Cabello, and on her own smashes “On the Floor” and “Let’s Get Loud,” which the fans never did.
The concert was televised on DirectTV as part of Super Saturday Night, an event in its 13th year.