Sioux City will never be mistaken for Miami but that didn’t stop Pitbull from bringing a South Beach vibe to Battery Park Friday night.
Whipping up a dance frenzy with more than a dozen high-energy songs, Mr. Worldwide swiveled through the hits, ably supported by six hot dancers and a band that was more than primed for the 37-year-old's aerobics class.
Dressed in tight black pants and shirt, shades in place even though the sun went down long before he hit the stage, Pitbull offered up the kind of show usually reserved for Vegas.
While the smoke cannons in front of him were a little too aggressive, a huge screen behind worked nicely, helping conjure dozens of locales.
Those dancers, wearing more sequins than cloth, started the grinding on “Don’t Stop the Party” and never seemed to quit.
The rapper kept up with them, every bump of the way, and used moments between songs to reveal a bit of his personality.
Born Armando Christian Perez, Pitbull made a pitch for the universality of music, then launched into a call for a “united United States.” He included a number of Spanish lyrics, too, and told the arm-to-arm audience members at the Hard Rock they were going to learn a second language if they only knew one, a third if they knew two. “You’re going to leave here knowing how to use your tongue,” he said. That was about as PG-13 as the show got.
Because the infectious music behind him was pretty aggressive, it wasn’t always easy to hear the raps. No sweat. Mr. 305 and the dancers made sure their moves translated.
On “Feel the Moment,” a tape of Christina Aguilera helped him duplicate the hit, a highlight of the night.
Hitting the sexy button repeatedly, he got the cellphones working overtime on “Hotel Room Service.” That he preceded it with an invitation to join him at the Hard Rock didn’t hurt. The screen, bursting with red images of dancing girls brought the sexy, back or not.
Those dancers changed several times and broke out the red sequins for “Fireball,” a conga invitation if ever there was one.
A big show? Oh yeah. Pitbull doesn’t waste his Vin Diesel motors on a low-energy performance. Friday’s offering made sure to hit on all cylinders. And all the beats he's known for.