Jennifer Lopez is a name known around the world for a reason. J-Lo’s put in the work, and it shows as anyone who attended her ‘It’s My Party’ concert on Thursday at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon can attest.
The Bronx-born actress, singer, dancer, fashion designer, producer and businesswoman turned 50 on July 24 and is celebrating the milestone with a 38-show tour, six of which are in international cities beginning with Tel Aviv. It was the first time Jenny from the block has performed in the Holy Land.
Experiencing a Lopez concert is not ordinary. Each number was its own theatrical act equipped with choreographed dances, props of all kinds and specialized costuming. The mother of two accomplished six quick changes throughout the 90-minute set. Costumes ranged from a champagne sequined, one-legged body suit for the opener “Medicine” to a shocking red salsa-style gown in honor of the late Selena Quintanilla (for which Lopez played in the 1997 biopic Selena) to glimmering gold heeled boots that ran up the thigh, to a final electric green bodysuit.
And that didn’t even cover it all. The star cracked jokes on stage, connected with the crowd and teased that her one-legged jumper only showed off part of her bottom. The opening act burst with energy as dancers doubled for bottle-service girls while strolling down the catwalk holding fire-crackling alcohol as though celebrating a birthday in a high-end Manhattan nightclub. From here, the party was set.
JLo’s classic hit songs like “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “I’m Real” and “All I Have” brought audience members to a familiar place. Fans who’ve kept up with her music since her debut studio album On the 6 (1999) held their hands over their hearts swaying in nostalgia. Some belted the lyrics out. Though these time capsule songs brought us back, what was most unique about this concert – and what makes J-Lo one of the best entertainers of all time – is her ability to stay current.
The show mixed in songs like “Te Bote II,” a part two to the highly popular reggaeton song originally by Nio Garcia. In 2017, it swept the globe and is still so widespread, you can hear it on dance floors from Miami to Moscow to Manila. Younger J-Lo fans found favor in this. “Limitless,” Lopez’ 2018 song pulled from her film Second Act sampled David Guetta’s 2011 hit “Titanium,” which everyone in the crowd recognized and sang along to.
Additionally, Lopez worked with Drake tracks to bridge songs and keep younger audiences engaged. Lopez paid homage to the 1972 classic The Godfather during her “Dinero,” showing off a short film and dressing in sexy mafia attire. She included a little Ariana Grande with a sampling of “7 Rings” and mixed in some Cardi B (also from the Bronx).
Lopez came up with some “rules” at the start of the night. She asked the audience to treat the concert like it was a party by dancing, singing and partying. The variety of music on the set list certainly made it as such, but it was the audience members who didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Though the show was packed out with nearly 60,000 people (organizers added space two days before the show to accommodate more fans) few knew the lyrics to her songs and were willing to dance.
Some stood idle with their arms folded, focusing on holding down their carved out personal space on the lawn. It was only midway through the show that the crowd moved its feet - and worse, it seemed the only song the general public knew the words to was one verse in “Jenny from the Block,” somewhat of a slap in the face to the artist’s 25-year song repertoire.
Nevertheless, Lopez’s voice was unwavering. In fact, many of her live renditions beat out her own recordings, a feat not many artists can accomplish. She danced on par with any of her backups, all of whom are likely half her age. J-Lo participated in partner moves, was lifted into the air multiple times and even completed a backflip on stage.
In addition to killing the routines, she spoke with the audience frequently, filling them in about her journey to her stardom. Lopez told the crowd she loved them multiple times and even had a front-of-stage fan whisper the translation to her in Hebrew. She spit it back perfectly on the mic on her first try. Fans screamed in delight. Her message for the night came across: “You are capable of accomplishing anything you want, so long as you believe.”
Lopez’s fiancée Alex Rodriguez, former shortstop and third baseman for the New York Yankees, was in the crowd and appeared on the big screen during the event. Lopez’s daughter, Emme made an on-stage appearance, too, singing a brief duet with her mother. The 11-year-old twin seemed bashful at first, but hit a couple of impressive notes to show she has the pipes to match her mom.
Will J-Lo ever stop? It appears not. The TV show World of Dance, in which the triple threat sits on a judging panel for, will return to the screen next year. If you didn’t get to soak in enough of the phenomena, you can catch her starring in a new thrilling film called Hustlers set for release on September 13. She stars alongside big names like Cardi B, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer and Julia Stiles. If Lopez’ never returns to Tel Aviv, she will have undoubtedly left her mark.