Pitbull gave folks time of their lives

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pitbull and Kesha had a huge hit with their 2013 collaboration on “Timber,” and I have the dubious honor of having witnessed both artists perform the song — separately — within a four-week span.

Pitbull was the most recent, as the Miami native was at Covelli Centre Saturday. Kesha performed the song during her set at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware on June 18.

Pitbull’s concert burned hot and fast. The Latino hip hop star turned in his usual frenetic show, dazzling the packed arena for an hour — but just an hour. Then it was over, the lights came up, and there would be no encore.

I guess at that pace, the concert is going to be short. It was his standard show that he does everywhere but he definitely left them wanting more.

After a canned hype announcement that would have been an appropriate way to introduce a motivational speaker, followed by the “Miami Vice” theme song, the dapper Pitbull appeared, crisply dressed in black with a jacket.

His five-man band included two percussionists — a drummer and a Latin bongo player — which was totally necessary to drive the infectious beat.

Pitbull never leaves home without his team of six sexy dancers and they really do elevate his act, with a steamy blend of samba and Crazy Horse moves.

While a conga line didn’t break out in the audience, there was definitely dancing in the aisles, even in the bowl seats, like it was a Cuban mardi gras. A frenzied girl behind me screamed “oh my gawwwd” for the 50th time at the start of “Fireball.” Ditto for “Time of Your Life.”

Youngstown isn’t a typical market for Pitbull, and he knew he was there only because of Southwoods Health owner Ed Muransky, who helped underwrite the show. The rapper acknowledged Muransky before ending his show, and praised him for his good business practices and generosity.

The son of Cuban migrants, Pitbull is nothing if not a hard worker and a hustler. He enjoys playing the motivator role, and he likes to recognize those qualities in others. He even gave a shout out to Youngstown’s Maurice Clarett, the Ohio State football star who turned around his tumultuous life and is now an entrepreneur and speaker.

As for Pitbull’s version of “Timber,” it was definitely better than Kesha’s. It was tight and true to the original, whereas Kesha’s rendition was sloppy and more rock than dance hall.

One of the opening acts for Saturday’s concert was 16-year-old Alex Angelo, who has family in Niles.

The multi-talented young man is way more than a DJ. He was in total command during his 45-minute set, revving up the audience, dancing up and down the catwalk and even singing a couple of his own songs.

Angelo lived most of his life in Cleveland, but now lives in Cincinnati.

THE VINDYS DO A DRIVE-BY AT THE ROCK HALL OF FAME

Youngstown-based band the Vindys are having a big week.

The act, fronted by powerful vocalist Jackie Popovec, will headline a show at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland at 8:30 tonight.

Then on Saturday, the band will open for the Drive-By Truckers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at 1 p.m. Tickets are $23.50 at rockhall.com.

The Vindys have two gigs in Columbus the following weekend.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.