The Minneapolis glitterati were in attendance at Glamorama on Friday, August 1st at the Historic State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis for the Macy’s Passport annual event that benefits Children’s Cancer Research Fund. The “FASHION ROCKS” theme for 2014, with its 42 runway models, 150 outfits, eight kid dancers in Hello Kitty, three-ramp stage, 589,824-pixel screen, 25 bottles of makeup remover, 18-bar after party at Macy’s 8th Floor, and 80 fashion professionals all glittered and flashed so much so that was easy to forget that this is the middle of the Midwest.
As for the music, ahem, performances, the glitz was glowing, but that was about it.
iHeart Radio's Rising Star winners Before You Exit played their contest-winning hit “I like that.” Or did they? More than once there was such excitement exuding from the pre-pubescent group and their tween support band that it appeared they were a little too wrapped up in the moment to remember to keep playing. Oh well, good thing the music kept blaring through the speakers. Plus, they had plenty of energy, and the lights were fantastic.
Jason Derulo, who has enjoyed a nice boost in his career with his summer hit “Wiggle,” followed. No one can say the man isn’t engaged as a performer. He moved and glided his way across the stage with the rhythm of any professional hip hop dancer, and even gingerly chastised the audience for not responding with the expected “Wiggle wiggle wiggle” when he posed, “I got one question. How’d you fit all that in them jeans? You know what to do with that big fat butt.” Unfortunately, the manipulation tactics that create catchy and popular tracks in well-stocked studios don’t always translate to good live performance repertoire, as was absolutely the case here. And, sadly, as with his junior counter-part openers, there was more than one moment of “his mouth isn’t moving, and yet I hear his voice over the PA...”
As devil’s advocate, its important to remember that with big multi-media events, there exists the tricky balance of logistics: get models off stage, get performers on stage, cables, amps, instruments, props, endless meters of wiring and many wireless receiver boxes. Production teams are charged with the challenging task of minimizing the risk of performance failure or show-stopping snafu. And sadly, for the world of music, often the “live” part of the “performance” gets a back seat. Without the proper information as to whose call it was to play pre-recorded tracks instead of having real live performances, its difficult to point a finger.
But oh how sad that even at large events which boast to be at the cutting edge of fashion, pop culture, and performance arts, its more like a batch of dolls playing pretend while they dance along to the noises from the boom box.