It only took (*looks at calendar*) her entire career, but Jennifer Lopez finally graced a Milwaukee stage. And while you can harrumph about how long it took the pop icon to bring her music to Brew City, she spared no expense making it up to the almost-filled American Family Insurance Amphitheater crowd on Wednesday night, throwing a preposterously massive party in honor of music, money, dance and, most importantly, J. Lo. But watching her work all over the two-hour extravaganza, she well-earned the adulation.
As she told the crowd multiple times during the "It's My Party Tour" stop, Wednesday night marked the music mogul's birthday. Well, OK, her birthday isn't actually until July 24, but when you're as famous as J. Lo, you get the entire month to celebrate. And boy did she, as Lopez brought out giant pink and purple drapes, a shimmering diamond of a chandelier, dozens upon dozens of peacocking dancers and tuba players, a gargantuan white fluffy dress, a pile of pearly balloons, her own fireworks and a circular hammock seemingly plastered with Swarovski crystals. And that was all just for the first song of the evening, her new release "Medicine."
After just that one song – plus a video montage of her entire career; perhaps, like Dewey Cox, Jennifer Lopez has to think about her entire life before she plays – the show was already undoubtedly the most extravagant and glamorous concert Summerfest, and maybe Milwaukee as a whole, had ever witnessed. Which made the choice for the next number a little amusing: "Love Don't Cost a Thing."
Even surrounded by all of that, however, J. Lo never got lost in the lavishness – and never lost sight of the adoring audience that had waited so long for her arrival. In between "Love Don't Cost a Thing" and her next tune, "Get Right," Lopez took some time to chat with the crowd, kick some of the lost balloons back into her adoring throng, set the house rules (basically: have fun) and just generally come off as contagiously playful and delightfully personable – especially for someone rocking a sparkly leotard missing a leg and a butt cheek, able to summon jewel-covered canes from nowhere.
After a costume change and regal transition video, Lopez reemerged riding a giant golden bank vault while wearing a half gangster business suit/half ass-less chaps outfit, shooting dollar bills out of two money guns while dancers in black ski masks plastered with a big shining silver dollar sign tightly moved in formation. So yes, the next song was "Dinero." Lopez then followed that DJ Khaled/Cardi B collaboration with "I'm Real" and "Ain't That Funny" before a trip to the Bronx for "Jenny from the Block," complete with a dance break.
People about to turn 50 years old shouldn't look as good or be able to move anywhere near as well as Lopez. The star definitely puts it on all on the stage, working as hard as her bank account on the show, dancing and singing and changing into multiple outfits and engaging the crowd – somehow doing it all with an infectiously smile.
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Unfortunately, it was at this time the show hit something very un-J. Lo-like: a saggy midsection. After handing out her bedazzled Bronx cap and wishing a 10-year-old in the crowd a happy birthday, Lopez took the show from her hometown to the strip club. Consider it getting into character and practicing for her upcoming "Hustlers" movie with Cardi B and Lizzo.
The segment started off amusing enough, bringing a crowd member named John onto the stage and gifting the birthday boy a sexy lap dance from two of J. Lo's dancers (happy birthday again to that 10-year-old!) and then J. Lo herself, performing a steamy lounge singer slow jam rendition of "If You Had My Love." Cue the perfectly timed lakefront fireworks, and it was a fun bit (save for maybe if you were John's girlfriend stuck in the audience). The strip club portion, however, continued after John's public private show for "Girls" with an extended sultry dance sequence that slowed the concert down and sent some of the crowd back into their seats.
After that detour into a Pussycat Dolls concert, the show gained some of its original energy back with a salsa-infused version of "Booty" (big theme for the night: butts), but the momentum was short-lived as it was time for a costume change – and the unfortunately necessary evil of a long red-soaked perfume commercial-esque video on the screens. That was followed with a nice cover of Sara Bareilles' "Gravity," plus the combination of the Sia-written "Limitless" and the Sia-performed "Titanium" – but while Lopez was lifted above the stage at one point, the audience still seemed content sitting for this slow section of the show, dedicated to ballads, deeper cuts and non-J. Lo tracks.
A brief performance of Selena's "Si Una Vez" and a funky dance break threatened to liven things back up again, but overall, the middle of the show felt like a fair amount of filler – which unfortunately even began to make her charming and personable interactions with the crowd hang heavy on the night.
Even during the dragging portions of the show, however, Lopez undoubtedly worked hard all across the stage. And eventually, with that effort, things began to turn back into the party that was started the night so gleefully.
The funky dance break – complete with flourishes of "Uptown Funk" and "Superbad" – evolved into the sassy and fierce "Ain't Your Mama," and after "All I Have" and a brief DJ break for another costume change, the show found a consistent energy just in time for the final stretch. Some enthusiastic Spanish-language hits – complete with some fun, intricate Buddha With a Thousand Hands-inspired choreography – brought the crowd fully back into the concert.
Halt for one more costume change (this one for a sleek and brightly neon look I shall call "Jurassic Tron") and there was no turning back as Lopez hit a streak of great final hits and contagiously energetic dance breaks that, once again, a person on the verge of half a century on this planet shouldn't physically be able to pull off this smoothly or exactly.
Add in a micro-encore of "Let's Get Loud" and a final bombardment of balloons, and the crowd left the Amp dancing – and hopeful it wouldn't take another decade or more for her return.
"Love Don't Cost a Thing"
"Ain't It Funny"
"Jenny from the Block"
"If You Had My Love"
"Gravity" (Sara Bareilles cover)
"Titanium" (Sia cover)
"Si Una Vez" (Selena cover)
"Ain't Your Mama"
"All I Have"
"Waiting for Tonight"
"On the Floor"
"Let's Get Loud"
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.