Text and photos
By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Flo Rida during his first song climbed up the steel scaffolding on the right side of the stage. Bouncers and even audience members started getting nervous as he just went up higher and higher with each step. At the same time he was holding the mic with one hand, rapping and singing “In the Ayer…aaayer…aayer (Air, air, air)”.
As he got about 20 feet high off the stage he eventually went down to the relief of everyone watching. Another artist that came to mind locally during live concerts to do that is Jay Contreras of Kamikazee. Jay would drive security guys crazy climbing on then jumping off ledges.
Flo Rida was just one of many chart toppers in SUPAFEST last September 18 at the Mall of Asia. SUPAFEST includes T Pain, Kelly Rowland and Sean Kingston, each artist a major draw. Four major artists in the rap, hip hop genre were put together in one concert. Each of the four artists has had at least one track that has gone no.1. In fact, there were more artists that night than was on the billing. Flo brought with him the group Git Fresh and the very sexy and young vocalist Trina.
The tens of thousands of who attended certainly got their money’s worth and the perfect weather definitely helped too. In spite of rains nearly every night leading to the concert, there was nothing but clear skies by the time Sean Kingston was belting out, “Beautiful Girls”.
Winston Llamas Head of Wilbros Inc. who organized SUPAFEST said, “At first we were concerned the weather would not cooperate but knowing the caliber of everyone in this show we knew that Filipinos would still flock to attend it. And it’s one of the most memorable events our company has put together. Our next concert with Korean star Jay Park will be at the SMX on Oct. 3 Sunday. Since it’s indoor we don’t have to worry about the rain.”
Local rapper Young JV with Bigg Beats and Q York made a good account of themselves. JV performed his single “Can’t Get Enough.” He also had young scantily clad and talented female dancers in his performance that added to the energy level.
Flo (real name Tramar Dillard), climbing up the scaffolding was just getting started. The top artist of dance music who has dominated the charts knows how to put on a high energy show. He is known for hits like “Low, low, low” and “Elevator”. Screaming “I love Manila,” he signed towels, wipes his brow then throws a dozen of them or more to the pumped up crowd. He’s at least 6’2” and according to his bodyguard weighs around 230 lbs. The weight is definitely not fat but mostly muscle. He looks like a running back in the NFL or a muscular heavyweight contender from the UFC. And his athleticism shows in his performance. He runs to the middle part of the concert grounds in Mall of Asia and climbs up the platform that has a video camera crew and screams to the crowd.
After he gets back to the main stage, Flo gets on to the shoulders of his personal body guard. That guy is even bigger than he is and has a striking resemblance to MMA star Kimbo Slice complete with beard and head warmer. After Flo clambers on the shoulders, Kimbo runs toward the back of the grounds literally carrying Flo Rida to fans who by now have gone wild. Flo grabs the hands of fans while singing “Jump, jump jump” with the refrain “Everybody!” He didn’t quite reach to the very end where the huge inflated balloon with the blue SMART logo was. But when he climbed the scaffolding he may have been higher than the two giant CLEAR shampoo bottles on either side of the stage.
The atmosphere was that of a huge party that included at least 30,000 people. Every song was meant to make everyone dance, no one was sitting down. The concert was almost like an intense Tae Bo work out for everyone watching. Party celebs Venus Raj, Philip Cu-Unjieng and Francine Prieto enjoyed themselves. Tessa Prieto Valdes was also there with her lovely kids.
Git Fresh is a trio brought by Flo Rida. They performed in between his songs and they certainly kept up the pace. Their song “She Be Like” (Bomb, bomb bomb first round, second round) was easily recognized by audiences, it has gotten a lot of air play. Singer Trina bared her tiny waist in a mid riff shirt with the Miami Heat logo emblazoned on the front. She’s the perfect endorser with her ‘bootylicious’ body. The jersey shows their origins in the city of Miami and may also be in aid of the reinforced NBA team. While Le Bron James and Chris Bosh are heroes in Miami for transferring to the Heat this year, everywhere else in the U.S. they are vilified.
Flo Rida asked the lights to go down and asked audiences to raise their cellphones high up the air. A sea of blue and white cell phone LCDs glowed in the darkness. “Where my cellphone at? This is my number…” Sadly, I was so busy taking pictures I was not able to list it down. Then he asked the crowd to spin the white towels they gave earlier. He started the song “Right Round” singing: “You spin my head right round, when you go down down..” It was the same party song used in the now legendary comedy film “The Hangover” which launched the career of Zach Galifianakis. Flo ends the show with another monster hit: “This Club Can’t Even Handle me Right Now” from another hit film “Step Up 3D.” Supafest was one huge party you shouldn’t have missed.