Hip hop roared to life Sunday night in Port St. Lucie amid of sea of smiling and dancing residents who flocked to the MIDFLORIDA Event Center for a musical journey back in time.
The large crowd clearly enjoyed the free shows featuring Tag Team and Tone Loc as the area in front of the stage was crammed with people of all ages showing their best moves. If smiles were any indication of the success of the event, then Port St. Lucie City Councilman David Pickett and MIDLORIDA Events Center Director Linda McCarthy and their team should feel really good today as they enjoy the success of an evening that many in the local area needed following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I loved it,” said Pickett, who was decked out in a purple-and-white Kobe Bryant Mamba jersey, purple pants and a faux gold chain. “People were up dancing and having a good time. It’s exactly what I wanted.”
Pickett said he couldn’t be happier with the team that put the event together, as the goal was to have area residents come out and enjoy themselves.
“I think we accomplished that,” Pickett said. “Everybody did exactly what we needed to do and I think everybody had a great time.”
Judging by the reaction of the attendees at both shows, I’d say Pickett hit the nail on the head. Few people were in their seats as Tag Team took the stage and seconds later, they were in front of the stage jamming and dancing to songs of days gone by.
Tag Team – Cecil Glenn (DC the Brain Supreme) and Steve Gibson (Steve Rolln) – took the stage around 6 p.m. as members of the crowd rose to their feet. DC quickly told the audience with a toothy smile on his face that he didn’t want to hear anything about ice cream, clearly referring to the group’s recent Geico Insurance commercial featuring a version of the hit song “Whoomp! (There It Is)” with an ice cream scenario and the substituted lyric ‘Scoop!’
Tag Team warmed up the audience with some hip-hop tunes before breaking into the popular song titled “Oweeo” – a number that clearly was a favorite of those dancing in front of the stage and in the aisles.
After performing a few other numbers, DC looked into the audience and said, “We’ve been performing this damn song for 29 years.” Applause and screams erupted as he added, “And we’re going to keep performing it!”
With that, the familiar words “Party people!” rang out as the sounds of “Whoomp!” came to life. Cheers exploded throughout the crowd and within seconds a hip-hop version of “American Bandstand” had broken out in front of the stage. Dancers of all ages were quickly showing off their best moves while singing the popular chorus, “Whoomp! (There It Is) over and over.
Selfies were being taken, groups were singing together and smiles could be seen throughout the excited crowd. And when the song finally ended, Tag Team performed a quick encore of the Geico Commercial, which drew another round of applause and cheers – especially when DC told them to “wait for it, wait for it” and then shouted his new catchphrase from the advertisement, “Sprinkles!”
As members of the crowd dispersed to quickly grab drinks and snacks, they had no idea what was coming their way. Because as good as Tag Team was, Tone Loc was just minutes away from taking the hip-hop experience to a new level.
Tone Loc’s longtime friend, DJ M. Walk – the duo has been together since 1988 – took a few minutes to pump up the crowd with some popular hip-hop tunes. And once he had everyone up dancing and having a great time, he introduced the star of the main event as Tone Loc slowly walked onto the stage decked out in a line green tracksuit, lime green sneakers and a white baseball cap.
Seconds later, the dance floor was packed and Tone Loc took an up-close-and-personal approach with the audience. Time and time again, he walked from one end of the stage to the other, bending down just inches from the faces of his adoring fans. And as he belted out lyrics, he asked the crowd to chime in with him, which they were more than glad to do.
It didn’t take long for Tone Loc to take the show to a new level as DJ M. Walk keyed up the music for the hit song “Funky Cold Medina.” Tone Loc strutted across the stage as he belted out lines like “Put a little Medina in your glass, and the girls will come real quick” and “I gave some to my dog when he began to beg. Then he licked his bowl and he looked at me and did the wild thing on my leg!”
Tone Loc performed a few other numbers and then invited females from the audience onstage to take part in the show. The stage quickly filled up and within seconds the music for the hit song “Wild Thing” came to life. Tone Loc truly was in his element as he pranced from one end of the stage to other, stopping just long enough to do a few dirty dances with his female fans – some of whom couldn’t seem to stop following behind him like star-struck teenagers.
The extended version of “Wild Thing” eventually came to a close as the women onstage took turns hugging the popular rapper before he left the stage. Many stayed behind and mingled in front of the stage while sharing how much fun they’d had at both shows.
Pickett was certainly correct when he said it was great to see everyone having a fun time. Many of those attending the event had been holed up in their homes for months over the past two years as COVID-19 ravaged the country. So, when it was time to safely come back out, it was clear that having a safe, good time was the name of the game.
That said, we’d like to be the first to congratulate the City of Port St. Lucie for a job well done. Pickett and his team deserve high praise for putting together such a wonderful and successful event. Hopefully, its huge success will translate into many more of these types of free shows in the future.
We’d also like to offer a word of thanks to both acts. Tone Loc closed his show with the words, “peace, love and happiness,” which was an excellent message given the craziness we’re all seeing across the world these days. He and Tag Team showed that rappers can put on a family friendly, fun show without tons of foul language and threats made against others. Frankly, we find that to be quite refreshing and look forward to seeing both of these fantastic acts perform again sometime.
Larry D. Croom is the COO and content director of MyTreasureCoastNow.com. He has been a working journalist for 40 years and has served as the executive editor of five newspapers – including The Fort Pierce/Port St. Lucie Tribune – and the associate publisher of a daily newspaper in North Carolina. He and his teams have won hundreds of journalism awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award and Two Telly Awards for telling the stories of veterans in Central Florida. He can be reached at email@example.com.