FREESTYLE EXPRESSES ITSELF AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

By Luis Vazquez
elboricua.com

John Saint-Hilaire photographer

April 20, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City we saw a sellout for a music event that made history. The show is part of the promotional tour called Freestyle Extravaganza Reunion 2006. The artists who were the dominant forces in Freestyle for a decade arrived with hearts as big as gold and their aspirations were realized in front of a packed and energetic audience.

It was made possible by promoter Adam Torres and his Latin Entertainment Group and RMP-Ralph Mercado Presents. Sal Abbatiello through his tireless promotion of this genre also saw a dream realized this evening. It was very much like a reunion. On the stage and in the back the artists brought it and when you closed your eyes you could feel your past come to life. When you opened your eyes our lives and what it meant to us was played out on stage like a classic storybook that remains timeless.

That was what it is all about after all. It has been preserved and as long as the fans that lived it continue to support it would appear that Freestyle has made its point that a yearly return is in the cards at the Mecca. It was in many ways the pinnacle event that freestyle had been denied all these years. The artists collectively showed off their trademark moves, their savvy, and command of the stage as they got to display what many have only got to see in clubs or their childhoods.

It meant different things to each artist. Lets give a listen. Judy Torres spoke about it, “It was all that is was cracked up to be and a lot more. We jammed and it was incredible that a lot of the Freestyle fans came out and supported us. I know that the tickets were probably really expensive but they really showed love and support and the show is all about them.”

On whether freestyle should be a yearly event “Absolutely it’s a possibility and it can definitely happen. I never thought I would be here honestly. I think at one point where freestyle took a backstage it was a little disappointing. But for the core artists who tried to keep it alive they are here performing tonight. Men like Adam Torres and Ralph Mercado and the tour that is the follow they are making it happen, said Judy.

Cynthia had some thought to share as well, “ There is no difference between Reggaeton and freestyle. It’s about the love of the fans. There are going to see a freestyle show or they are going to see a Reggaeton show. Its about the love and support you get from the fans. I don’t think there is anything different we are all one.”

“ My mother really wanted to go to Mohegan Sun but because of heart surgery and arthritis she couldn’t go. So I made it a point and when I heard we were doing Madison Square Garden I said that’s it. Of all the shows this is the one and also it was an early show for her as well. Without a doubt the greatest experience to date.”

In answer to whether this is the Super bowl of Freestyle Cynthia laughs “Hell, Yeah!


“ I think Latinos as a whole have to be considerate of our genres. There is freestyle on one hand and Disco on the other; for example, There are many genres that we consider our own.” said Adam Torres.

Noel gave his feelings on this event. I’ve done things like this before in Brazil and England. It’s not new, its just overdue. I feel like a championship boxer ready to go in the ring. Its fun to do the music with these artists doing the songs we love to do.”

Shannon added, “It’s wonderful, for the whole genre it’s wonderful. When I hear them perform can hear little influences in the music.” They were looking for a singer It feels good to know it worked for a whole genre and people are still into it for over 23 years.”

To that we add, “Let the music play….again.

The Cover Girls who had to overcome the stigma of mot being original members carried the name of the Cover girls and covered it in glory as the fans accepted them whole heartedly. The satisfied look on their faces backstage was one of accomplishment.“ We’re glad it’s over. We live for pressure, we thrive on it, it was perfect. We worked really hard for this and the reception we got was awesome.”

It was that kind of night. It was one to remember, a true classic that will be remembered for years to come. It was fulfilled expectations, nervous hope, a thrill a minute ride. It brings to mind a saying that goes like this. In this park it may be the oldest ride but it still has the longest line. This moment is music is over until next year when we hope to see it again at the arena where greatness is confirmed.

 


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