Imagine driving down the street singing along to the radio at the top of your lungs with your best friend in the passenger's seat singing along. Now imagine if your best friend was Ricky Martin, and the backseat was filled with a few thousand other people.
Usually when a concert pops into town it's because a pop star has a new record to promote, but this wasn't the case for "An Intimate Evening with KTU," which included a roster of stars whose visibility has been somewhat limited over the past couple of years. But don't mistake visibility for credibility, as the line-up included Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Donna Summer. One might think that the audience for this concert could skew predominately gay or Latino, but the concert hall was packed with all ages and all types of people, guys and their girlfriends, guys and their moms, moms and their friends. And they all had one thing in common. They were there for New York City radio station KTU as much as they were there for the stars. I stood and listened as the audience screamed just as loud for the larger-than-life radio personality Goumba Johnny as they did for Ricky Martin. The loyal listeners in the audience got as excited about the entrance of radio personality Baltazar as they did about Donna Summer's song "Hot Stuff."
The show started promptly at 8:00 p.m., when we found Ricky Martin on stage singing one of his Spanish ballads. Soon everyone was screaming. The power of his hips, his confident smiles and they way he shook his butt were almost enough to make us throw dollars on the stage. It was great to see Ricky backed just by a band, free of explosions, fireworks and back-up dancers. It was just us and him… him and us… He encouraged us to sing with him and we did, and he asked us to dance with him and we did, and when he ran backstage to change his shirt we tried to go with him, but unfortunately security wouldn't let us. Ricky's energy kick-started the concert and we wanted more.
And then came Marc Anthony. Now come on, how can anyone follow Ricky Martin? We all waited to see what would happen next as Marc Anthony appeared on stage looking tiny in comparison to Big Ricky. We gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking, "Oh well, yeah Ricky's the cuter one, but Marc's got the pipes." He sang a couple of his most famous tunes but that was about it. The energy level of the room definitely died down, and the audience took their seats during his performance. The only thing skinnier than Marc Anthony was his set list, and after three songs he left the stage, prompting booing from his fans. I didn't mind though, I was ready for the big D...Ms. Donna Summer!
Would Donna Summer be able to raise the roof? Could she get us back on the floor? The huge monitors began to play an intro that got everybody revved up. The intro included everyone talking about how great Donna is, from Britney to Bette, Gloria Gaynor to P. Diddy, fans and DJ's. And then she appeared. She began with "MacArthur Park" and sang it flawlessly. At that moment the audience was like, "Oh, shit, she is better than ever." Perfect voice, and the perfect set list. It was one of those moments when you're watching a performer and you remember why you love the music, and you remember where you were when you first heard it, and you want to go up there and tell her everything, but you can't. So you sing to her and you sing with her and at that moment, for the first and only time in life, you are given the power to sing on key. The one surprising thing about Donna Summer is the fact that she has an amazing sense of humor. Most of today's female performers opt for being the sexiest person they can be. Donna's done that, and isn't afraid to poke fun at herself and make crazy faces. The highlight was when she quieted down the audience, and did a funny monologue complete with character voices as an intro to "Enough is Enough." A funny improv happened during this -- one of her earrings fell off and she told someone backstage to go and find that because it's worth thousands of dollars.
Highlights of her performance included "Hot Stuff," "She Works Hard for the Money," and of course, her encore, "Let's Dance."
Oh, what a night! It could have just as easily been called "KTU's Sing-A-Long Songs." My only disappointment was that Ricky and Donna didn't do a duet. One can only imagine how hot a version of "Hot Stuff" that would have been!
Photos courtesy WKTU