Here’s a funny story…
When traveling, free stuff is always so sweet – especially free music right? Guarenteed awesomeness right? In this instance…. wrong!!! LOL!
So I found out about a free Summer Concert Series down at Brighton Beach, Coney Island – a Latino music concert. I figured it would be good because Aretha Franklin had been part of the series. I told Sarah from the UK, the other girl staying at Garon’s place and she was excited to come along (being a big fan of that type of music). And so it was, that we set off on our Latino Freestylin adventure…
That evening was warm and as we arrived at Brighton Beach, the sun setting behind the seaside theme park. As night came we arrived at the huge stage not far from the beach and we encountered thousands & thousands of excited people – mostly Latino community – all eagerly awaiting the music to come.
We took our seats next to a lovely Puerto Rican lady (who I suspected had something other that tea in the thermos she clutched tightly in both hands). She said, we could be Puerto Rican for the evening if we liked – we kindly accepted this invitation. I think she must have felt sorry for us being the only ‘foreign people’ there!!!
So we’re in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people…The night kicked off with some dancing on a far away second stage that we couldn’t really see and an announcement by one of the organizers – he said something about “technical difficulties”, the sound levels and offered an apology. It was only when the first performer came onto the main stage, that we understood exactly why he was apologising. (This is going to be very hard to describe).
So there was the “technical difficulties” announcement and THEN… enter stage left…. NOEL. The Noel – a middle aged guy clutching a microphone wearing blue jeans and a tight black t-shirt. We hear what seems to be a bearly audible 80s backing track of some sort. The women in front of us leaps up from her seat and starts dancing – jiggling around to the faint sound of the electric drum track. We are confused because we can barely here the music (my iPhone speakers would have been louder) and the guy, this ‘Noel’ guy, seems to be singing but we can’t hear anything. He’s moving his lips but nothing is coming out of the sound system. “Is this a joke?”, I’m thinking. People are now starting to boooooo. But Noel, a true performer, keeps going despite the setback. I think he’s lip syncing to an almost non existent backing track – but the lady behind me (obviously a BIG fan) is singing so loud that we can all hear all of the words clearly: “I’m on fire. My em-mo-tions run so deeeeep”. Now some other people are starting to get into it, clapping and singing over other people yelling “we can’t hear yooooooou!!!!”. I look around and the lady behind me tells me that “this is Latino Freestyle from the 80s” and that Noel was a big hit back in the day. Noel is still going, the close ups on the video screens show us that he is getting frustrated. And then comes the GOLD… after he swears profusely yelling profanities as loud as he can into his microphone (I think this was directed at the sound guy), he breaks loose into THE BEST dance routine I have ever seen – straight from the 80s right onto the stage in front of us… complete with high-kick-spin-jumps performed with great frustration due to the sound difficulties! Then he jumps off the stage and dances down the isle in the crowd. I am stopping here because I just can’t explain how funny this was – I think I almost peed my pants – seriously – so close! I took a few video clips but it doesn’t do NOEL any justice – I missed his best moments (mostly because I was laughing so hard!). See the link below and note the lady “lovin’ it” in front of me.
This was the night that I learnt about “Latino Freestylin” – there were at least 3 other acts, all dealing with the same low volume issue – it was a very educational evening…
Link: You have to watch Noel’s 1987 hit single “Silent Morning“to get a true sense of the artist. This is in his prime, 23 years before he found himself on stage in front of thousands of fans lip syncing to nothing, swearing, but still dancing like no one’s watching!! Please appreciate the rooftop dancing scenes as much as I did.
IN OTHER NEWS
ARTISTS & CREATIVE PEEPS TO BE SHOWCASED:
Jane Rawson (Author), Tewodros Fekadu (Author), Lucreccia Quintanilla & Léuli Eshraghi of “Mapping South”, Aliça Bryson-Haynes (Public Art), Phil Soliman (Performance Art).