Naima Adedapo, hometown star of "American Idol," used to work at Summerfest. On Saturday night she saw the Big Gig again, but this time as a performer.
During her set she recounted for the audience her days cleaning out dressing rooms, emptying trash bins and cleaning toilets at Summerfest.
"I always visualized myself on the stage and even when I worked there as grounds clean up, I was performing," she told me last week. "I would work until 4 p.m., take off my uniform, jump in my performance clothes and hit the stage at 5 p.m.! But what I will say is now that I have my own band and show, I definitely like this angle a lot more!"
In her performance at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse Stage, scheduled for 8 p.m. -- but which actually kicked off about 15 minutes early (the first time I've ever witnessed an early start in 32 Summerfests) -- Adedapo was clearly enjoying the view.
In case we couldn't tell for sure, Adedapo performed a rousing cover of Pharell Williams' "Happy" during which the stage filled with dancers, and there was no doubt about her mood.
Adedapo, who splits her time between Brew City and Music City, made a number of references to her new post-"Idol" life in Nashville, where she is currently writing and recording material toward an upcoming release.
Some of that new material was performed Saturday evening in front of what started out as a medium-sized crowd -- reflecting what appeared to be a relatively lightly attended Summerfest at that point of the night -- but that picked up more and more as the 90-minute performance progressed.
One standout was, "#Winning," a tribute to folks like working parents and single mothers who find their hard work pays off.
Adedapo was working hard onstage, prowling from side to side, making eye contact with, and gesturing to, audience members, staging a lively performance and breaking a sweat.
Supporting her was her band, which includes Joe Hite (keys), Jordan Kroeger (bass), the kinetic Olen Franklin (drums), Randy Komberec (guitar), Cecilio Negron (percussion) and backing singers Rodney Cunningham and Joy Bach.
But Adedapo got a little help from some other friends, too, during a cover of Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street," when an African drummer and dancers from Ton Ko-Thi dance troupe -- of which her mother is a part -- came out onstage for an African dance interlude before the band segued back into the Motown classic.
The balance of the set continued with a mix of original songs and covers like versions of Sara Bareilles' "Brave" and Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire."
Adedapo didn't win her season of "American Idol," but not for a lack of charisma, stage presence and talent. On Saturday night all of those combined for the kind of performance that could continue Adedapo's trajectory to broader fame.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 28, 2015
Some details of the plan for the new development in the trio of National Ace Hardware buildings on 4th and McKinley have emerged, right as plans for a new arena and entertainment district across the street have taken steps forward.
Published July 25, 2015
One of the Milwaukee area's most interesting parks is a bit off the beaten path, but it's worth making tracks to Lizard Mound County Park in Farmington, just north of West Bend in Washington County. A wooded path twists and turns through 28 Native American effigy mounds, including the one shaped like a huge lizard which gives the park its name.
Published July 24, 2015
Green Lake is a place of superlatives. Here are eight of the many reasons to fall in love with Green Lake, which is an easy 90-minute drive from Milwaukee.
Published July 24, 2015
What a long strange trip it was. While theaters like the Downer and Oriental have venerable histories as long-running cinema houses, consider, if you will, the the more varied history of the now-dilapidated State Theater, 2616 W. State St. Originally a movie theater, the State has served a number of purposes - rock venue, prudish dance hall and strip club - in its nearly 100-year history.
Published July 22, 2015
There were about 500 people on hand to watch U2 at The Palms on April 15, 1981. The show was part of the Irish band's first U.S. tour. Here's a look back...
Published July 21, 2015
Come with me to see the progress on the restoration of The Pabst Mansion's third floor and also peek into the basement and attic, and experience the view from the roof of this Milwaukee landmark.
Published July 17, 2015
Milwaukee neighborhoods were once awash in movie theaters, as hard as that may be to imagine these days when you can count the number of non-googleplex cinemas in the city limits on one hand. While many are lost, a few remain. At 3804 W. Vliet St. is a former longtime carpet store that's been closed the past few years. But, originally, the building was home to The Lyric Theater, which operated from 1917 to 1952.
Published July 14, 2015
In 2012, I toured the surviving Alexander Eschweiler-designed Agricultural College buildings on the County Grounds, when their roofs gaped open to the stars - and the elements - and weeds encircled their exteriors. Despite talk of tearing them down, and an ongoing battle to save them from demolition, four of the buildings survive, even as six new apartment buildings are rising around them.
Published July 14, 2015
The WMA managed to get an alternative teacher-licensing track included in the omnibus that allows graduates from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, (MACTE) to apply for a Wisconsin state teaching license to teach in a public or charter Montessori school.
Published July 13, 2015
Last week, Milwaukee lost a talented, dedicated, hard-working historian. But when former Italian Community Center president Mario Carini died on July 7, at the age of 78, Milwaukee's Italian community lost a force of nature.