Nelly, TLC, and Flo Rida Bring The Party To Blossom
In what felt like an MTV Spring Break telecast from the mid 1990s, the trifecta of acts consisting of Flo Rida, TLC, and Nelly hit Blossom Music Center for a great three-hour gig on Thursday night.
The mid-August evening was perfect; the weather was balmy; not a hint of humidity was in the air and the mostly-female, mostly middle-aged audience was high on the night air, among other things.
Opener Flo Rida did a raucous hour set that got the MTV vibe going. His repeated cry of "Hands in the air!," got the crowd pumped. If anything, he's a spirited performer with a large amount of aerobic energy; he didn't stand in a single spot for more than two seconds. Offering "Right Round" early in his thirteen-tune set, the crowd was already on its feet, bouncing in unison to Flor Rida and his dancers. Ending the set with a triple punch of "Wild Ones," My House," and "Snack," he really primed the pump for the acts to follow.
Georgia-founded megastars of the late '90s, TLC, took to the stage in an odd pairing. Lisa "Left Eye"Lopez, who passed away in a freak vehicular accident in Honduras, was a major part of the trio's success. Her absence was felt when the band's two surviving members, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins came to the stage. Adorned by a myriad of dancers, the duo belted out fifteen tunes in their hourlong set. Towards their encore, the duo offered "Creep" and "No Scrubs," two of their most well-known hits.
Left Eye's absence didn't go unnoticed; towards the end of the show T-Boz gave a shout out to Lopez and asked the crowd to wave their cell phones in the air--the modern equivalent of a lighter--in memory of the late diva. They then launched into a great rendition of "Waterfalls." It's hard to continue as a successful pop trio when one of its members passes away; I suppose that Thomas and Watkins have done the best they can without replacing Lopez. However, a somber tone dominated their time on stage as Lopez's absence was felt during some of the harmonies.
By the time Nelly hit the stage, the place was a veritable house party. The St. Louis-bred rapper came out in a white, hand-painted sweatshirt reminiscent of the 1980s' fashion trends of, well, white, over-sized, hand painted sweatshirts, Nelly rolled right into "Party People" with a flotilla of dancers surrounding him. Offering up "Shake Ya Tailfeather" and "Country Grammar" early in the set, he surprised with "Cruise," a Florida Georgia Line cover.
Relying heavily on tunes pulled from early efforts Country Grammar and Nellyville, the early oughts albums produced a bevy of hits, and the crowd knew them all. Closing out with "Dilemma" and "Just A Dream," the crowd, now sweating and dripping with smiles, made its collective way to Blossom's exits.
Review and Photos by Brian M. Lumley