Hosted by Sacramento’s V101.1 FM radio station, the throwback hip hop station’s arena-filling concerts tend to have the formula down for turning all seating sections in the arena into a nightclub environment with a soundtrack of hits coming from their original performers. Its March 5 Freestyle Throwback Jam Golden 1 Center definitely was no exception.
With a lineup the included Tag Team, Stevie B, Lisa Lisa, Trinere, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Noel, The Jets, and others, if you didn’t recognize a name on the marquee, that usually only lasted until they took the stage and started performing.
With 11 performers on the bill, the concert format was pretty quick turnover – with the earlier artists playing about 20 minutes and only a couple minutes between sets while station DJs jumped up onstage to add some color and joke around before introducing the next entertainer.
Openers included Seduction original lead singer April Harris-Holmes and Prince protégé group The Jets taking the stage with only enough time to perform their hits. With most of the songs played throughout the night received radio play in the 1980s, the theme over the course of the night seemed to be a lot of jokes about those in the crowd. Montell Jordan, who is now a pastor, joked that he doesn’t perform one of his hit songs anymore because “It’s nasty! But you can listen to it on CD on your way home. No one knows what CDs are anymore but you guys do!”
Trinere hit the stage with pure energy. “I’m 57 and I don’t plan on stopping!” she said before launching into her first song where she and her dancer moved across the width of the stage.
Surprisingly enough, one of the highlights was Tag Team, a one-hit wonder (“Whoomp! There It Is”) that found a recent resurgence of relevance after appearing in a Geico commercial. Filling out the rest of their stage time with songs that weren’t as familiar with the crowd, the duo was smiles and jokes which lifted the energy before launching into their hit. To top that off, they concluded their set with the Geico commercial remix of the song, complete with lyrics based around ice cream and a final explosion of “Sprinkles.”
Between performers, DJs would make jokes about the crowd not even needing to call babysitters, since most of their kids had probably already moved out!
Sir Mix-A-Lot filled the room with club presence and milked the classic “Baby Got Back” for an extended length of time, that no one inside was complaining about.
Miami’s Exposé featured their three original singers performing their synchronized moves beneath a video screen of clips from their music videos of them doing those same moves about 30 years ago. The group sound of performing these songs with years of practice at vocal chemistry was another highlight of the night.
Headliners Lisa Lisa and Stevie B finished the night with strings of radio singles from their past records. Stevie B’s band took the stage with three keyboard players, filling the room with synthesized sounds.
And while the crowd was up on their feet throughout most of the night, one overheard exchange did seem to sum up an aspect of the room and the general age of the throwback crowd: “Stevie B isn’t going on until after 11?! That’s way too late…”
And though some opted to head out of the arena a little early, the high school dance party vibe was strong and nostalgia reigned supreme.
Info on V101.1’s upcoming concerts and events can be found at Instagram.com/v1011sacramento or facebook.com/v1011sacramento