Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto - March 28, 2012

Singer Pitbull performs. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI AGENCY)

Singer Pitbull performs. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI AGENCY)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:45 AM ET

So two thirty-something rappers from Florida named Armando Christian Pérez and Tramar Dillard managed to almost sell out Ricoh Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Ever heard of them?

Maybe you’re more familiar with their stage names - Pitbull (headliner) and Flo Rida (opener) - respectively?

Anyway, if you’d asked me going in, I would have said of the two hip-hop artists from the Sunshine State that it was the Cuban-born, Miami-based Pitbull’s night to come out on top after he set the performing bar high last September opening for Latin-pop star Enrique Iglesias at the Air Canada Centre.

But apparently Pitbull, dressed slickly on Wednesday night in black shades, suit, shirt and shoes, is much better at opening a concert than he is at headlining one.

His hour and 15-minute set felt like a crazy, random, jumbled jukebox that only played snippets of hit songs.

I mean, he literally played snippets of hit songs that he had nothing to do with - like Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It, Martin Solveig/Dragonette’s Hello, Black Eyed Peas’ I Got A Feeling, and Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child Of Mine.

At least he has mostly good musical taste.

And when he did trot out some of his own hits like Krazy, I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho), and Hotel Room Service, or collaborations with A-listers - Marc Anthony’s Rain Over Me, Jennifer Lopez’s On The Floor, Enrique’s I Like It, Usher’s DJ Got Us Falling In Love, Ne-Yo’s Give Me Everything, it was again just abbreviated versions for the most part.

You’d just get into a song and he’d be onto the next one. ADD maybe?

He took more time with some of his Spanish language tunes and they were the better for it.

Flo Rida, by contrast, was a high-energy, fun-loving revelation dressed in a red racing car driver outfit and wielding a crescent moon-shaped jewelled microphone.

Buff and seemingly up for anything, he performed Chippendale-level dance moves with abandon from the very start of his 45-minute set backed by an eight-piece band, many scantily clad female dancers, and at one point had about 25 female fans dancing up on stage with him.

His enthusiasm was infectious.

Crazy, brave, or both, Flo Rida often ventured out into the crowd too, singing from the stands, carried on the shoulders of a security guard through the audience on the floor and in the stands, and was even set down at one point in the middle of the crowd on the floor.

He eventually stripped down exposing his impressive upper body and even poured water on himself like an old pro from Thunder From Down Under and seconds later his female back up singer had straddled and slid down him.

Opening with his hit Right Round, which sample’s Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) he later got to such crowd pleasers as Low - “Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur,” etc.” - and Good Feeling, and perhaps following Pitbull’s lead, included a bit of Journey's Don’t Stop Believing in his set.

Guilty pleasure, maybe, but at least there was some genuine flow in Flo Rida’s show.

 


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