Concert Report: Freestyle Explosion (Amway Center) & Freestyle Flashback (High Tide)

One of the great events to visit Orlando every year is the Freestyle Explosion show taking place at Amway Center downtown.
After 70’s Disco evolved into early-80’s Funk, that genre evolved further into the mid-to-late 80’s Freestyle genre that was more-or-less created in NYC, Philly and Miami but was heard on the radio throughout the country. We arrived a few minutes before the 7:25PM start time as the crowd was still filing in.
The MC for the evening was DJ Slice (USA).
With his thick New York City accent, he would fill the gaps between segments.
The show kicked-off with Cynthia Torres who operated back-in-the-day simply as Cynthia (USA).
She was looking fine!
Selections included “Change On Me” and “Breakup To Makeup”.
Minneapolis-based The Jets (USA) were up next.
Originally an entire family, they were down to just three last night.
They opened with “Curiosity” and also sang “Crush On You”.
One of a few examples of getting out your lighters cell phones!
Loved the fast pace of the show with each act singing a few of their top hits and then moving on. Color Me Badd (USA) was up next!
I had trouble getting a good pic of them because they were constantly in motion!
Selections included “All 4 Love”, “I Adore Mi Amor” and their biggest hit, “I Wanna Sex You Up”.
The rich people got to sit in the first row!
A big name from the Freestyle genre up next, Juan Ortiz aka Johnny O (USA).
He was showing off his tight pants and dance moves last night!
Songs included “Fantasy Girl” which had an early-EDM vibe to it.
He definitely still got his moves!
He had the crowd out of their seats!
Cynthia would come back on for one song, their joint hit “Dreamboy Dreamgirl”.
The duo Freestyle (USA) was up next just before 9PM.
Early Breakbeats with their hit “It’s Automatic“.
Korg synthesizers made them a early pioneer of the electronic music scene. They would also play “The Party Has Just Begun”.
Most of the Amway Center floor was occupied along with many of the seats in the front lower bowl.
And then, there she was! Dressed in all-black, Debbie Deb (USA).
She would sing the very Breaks-oriented song “When I Hear Music”…..
Along with here biggest hit, “Lookout Weekend”.
Not on the schedule I had, Miami-based Trinere (USA) was up next.
Sorry but she was one I had just not previously heard of, nor her songs, lol.
But my photo colleagues in the pit said they did so what do I know!
Harlem-based Rob Base (USA) came next.
We jumped into the 90’s with him as he began by asking “Who knows Old School Hip Hop?” They would then play hits “Joy and Pain (Sunshine and Rain)” and “It Takes Two”.
DJ Capone (USA) delivered the tunes for the Rob Base set.
As it got later, even bigger Freestyle names appeared on the stage.
Songs included “Scars of Love”, “Tears May Fall” and a long version of “Maria”.
More lighters!
No, that wasn’t Judge Eileen Cannon of Trump-trial fame. Lisa Lisa (USA) came on around 10:30PM.
I like the 90’s baggy jeans trend but those oversized cargo pockets were distracting as she opened with her biggest banger “Can You Feel The Beat”.
She had a DJ playing too but I did not catch her name.
Other hits included “Head To Toe”, “Lost In Emotion” and “All Cried Out”. She was my favorite of the night!
After a short intermission, the final music act of the evening…..
Stevie B (USA)
A full band ensemble had been brought-in.
The crooner is famous for songs such as “I Wanna Be The One” and “Party Your Body”.
As the show approached the 4 hour mark, we cut-out at this juncture to walk a block east to the venue High Tide for the Freestyle after-party!
Delivering the goods, DJ Jimmy Joslin (USA).
It wasn’t packed but there was a good crowd on the rooftop.
The rooftop had both bars operational and both had lines.
We ran into lots of peeps we knew from the local scene.
Photographer KingBob taking a photo of photographer Mike Anthony!
Besides the expected Freestyle, Jimmy Joslin was also playing Classic Dance and Miami Bass.
At both venues last night, a good time was had by all.