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Holiday Superfest Short on Spirit

December 21, 1987|HOLLY GLEASON

It's hard to know where to start with the problematic Holiday Superfest on Saturday at the Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim. Lengthy set changes and delays may have been behind several lackluster performances.

After newcomer Shanice Wilson sang three songs over backing tracks, including her current hit "Can You Dance," there was an 18-minute set change for Chico DeBarge, who played for only 20 minutes. And so the pattern was set, with set changes taking nearly as long as the actual performances.

Rapper Kool Moe Dee got the crowd dancing with his 25-minute set of swaggering and claims that "I'm a rap artiste ." Though that remains to be seen, Moe Dee connected with the audience, maximizing the effect of the call-and-response chanting by getting the crowd involved on "Do You Know What Time It Is" and "How You Like Me Now."

After a 30-minute intermission, Zapp with Roger (Troutman, that is) hit the stage for a spirited 58-minute set that included three costume changes, several oldies (including up-tempo treatments of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine") and a triumphant finale of their current hit "I Want to Be Your Man," where they took their time and savored every note.

True showmen that they are, Zapp with Roger made the most of their time. Unfortunately, this couldn't be said for Shalamar, which turned in a maudlin five-song set that was long on self-indulgent comments from guitarist Micki Free and short on hits. Though the backup band was solid, the trio's perfunctory performance deserved the response of almost total indifference from a tired crowd that wanted to see the Gap Band.

Sadly, what was scheduled as two shows dragged into one long mess. Those who remained after midnight saw an abbreviated set from the Wilson Brothers, who came on strong with "Jerene," "Early in the Morning" and "You Keep Running In and Out of My Life" before the lights went on.

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