In Canberra for the Australian leg of his current tour (presumably timed to coincide with Her Majesty’s), Flo Rida brought his abs, his entourage and his brand of r&b/dance/pop to Academy last week, to the great delight of a very excited crowd.
The atmosphere was buzzing before the supporting acts had even started. Revellers revelled in the upstairs Candy Bar lounge, where old school r&b and hip hop set the mood for a fun and, let’s face it, probably ever so slightly trashy evening.
Downstairs in Academy’s Main Room the crowd was sizeable, but nowhere near the overwhelming crush I had anticipated. Local DJs started playing around 10pm, and it was clear they’d resigned themselves to the fact that they were just placeholders for the night. Messrs Songz and Rush (and DJs Just 1 and Rawson after the show) placated us all with mixes of Top 40 tunes that kept the punters dancing and happy until Flo Rida’s 1am start time.
An eternity passed before a horde of scantily clad young ladies stampeding toward the stage heralded the start of something big.
After a long introduction by his crew, the man himself took the stage and was met with rapturous applause as he launched right into his set.
What followed was as expected. Flo gave the crowd what they wanted, performing, ‘In the Ayer’, ‘Elevator’, ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’ and, of course ‘Low’, for which the club’s ‘sexiest ladies’ were invited onto the stage to bump and grind and attempt to shield their modesty from the patrons down below. A shirt was removed at one point, screams were screamed, hands waved in the ‘ayer’ and Flo Rida strode around rather unenthusiastically shouting ‘Australia’, ‘Flo Rida’ and, ‘Patron’ at appropriate intervals during the performance.
A highlight of the show (apart from getting to say ‘Rida’ when someone said ‘Flo’) was the female vocalist whose powerful voice transcended the sweat and the synth.
Ultimately, a show like this cannot really be critiqued. A musical genius or a standout performer Mr Rida is not, but I can promise no one came away disappointed that he didn’t perform enough of his acoustic work or that he’d sold out. Friday night’s patrons expected a fun, loud, big-name act and that’s exactly what they got – Patron was sipped, shorties got low, everyone had a brilliant time and sometimes that’s all that really matters.