Review: J. Lo brings big party to Little Caesars Arena
The superstar singer, turning 50 this month, lit up LCA in her first Metro Detroit performance
It wasn't her birthday Friday night, but Jennifer Lopez sure partied like it was, performing a celebratory two-hour, 10-minute concert before a packed house at Little Caesars Arena.
It was Lopez' first-ever concert in Metro Detroit, and she came prepared to make up for lost time. Massive amounts of confetti, glitter, balloons and pyrotechnics were all deployed, as J. Lo brought a hit parade covering her 20 years in music, while backed by a six-member band, three backup singers and more than 20 dancers.
The concert was part of her "It's My Party" tour, which launched last month and wraps later this month with three nights at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena.
"Detroit feelin' good tonight! I don't gotta ask, 'cuz I can feel it!" Lopez exclaimed early in the evening, after starting the show suspended above the stage inside a sparkling ring attached to a chandelier. She kept a running dialogue going with the crowd — largely groups of women aged anywhere from their 20s to 50s — throughout the night.
Lopez announced it was her birthday, although the actual day isn't until July 24. (Why celebrate a birthday when you can celebrate a birth month?) The singer, dancer, actress and all-around entertainer is turning 50, and though she never mentioned the number, she said the occasion has caused her to reflect upon what truly matters in life.
The answer, according to Friday's lively presentation: fun and family — her 11-year-old daughter, Emme, joined her on stage at the end of "Limitless" and sang a few bars of the chorus — and her deep bond with her fans.
She thanked those fans profusely on Friday and took several extra moments to look around the arena and soak in her showering of applause, rubbing her arms to signify she'd gotten goosebumps (or "goosies," as she calls them). In addition to telling fans she loved them, she thanked them for their willingness to go to the mat for her when defending their beloved Jenny from the Block.
She toasted her Bronx roots and gave props to New York, as images of the Brooklyn Bridge were projected on the video screen behind her and a mock New York subway car (marked "6," Lopez' old subway route) was wheeled onto stage. The energy level started high and rarely dipped, save for a lengthy intro to "Ain't Your Mama" that could have been slashed.
Lopez took the Madonna route in re-imagining her past hits, giving "If You Had My Love" a slinkier, slowed down makeover (performing it as part of a strip club suite) and mixing in a bit of David Guetta and Sia's "Titanium" into "Limitless." Outfit changes came fast and furious; during "Dinero," she appeared on stage wearing a black ensemble, disappeared underneath the stage during a recording of Cardi B's verse, and reappeared wearing an all-white version of the same outfit.
The set was broken up into pieces: A throwback section featured renditions of "I'm Real," "Ain't it Funny" and "Jenny from the Block," complete with an old-school bedazzled cap atop her head; a funk section included "Ain't Your Mama" and "All I Have"; a Latin section saw a cover of Selena's "Si Una vez"; and late in the show, a dance party throwdown was capped by a supercharged "Dance Again" that had the crowd bouncing on its feet and all but stole the night.
Throughout, Lopez proved a commanding host and a spirited presence, working the stage, working the audience and working hard to give everyone a show. She delivered. It was a J. Lo party for sure, and it was an arena extravaganza worthy of her superstar status.
Following an encore of "Let's Get Loud" — it was already plenty loud, she didn't have to ask twice — Lopez donned a robe and thanked the crowd for coming out and partying with her. "Until next time!" she said.
We can't wait to have her back.