Jason Derulo on stage at the WOW Coca Cola Festival in Rishon Lezion Wednesday August 1, 2018..
(photo credit: BENNY REVITALY)
It was well after midnight when Jason Derulo appeared on stage at the WOW Coca Cola Festival in Rishon Lezion on Wednesday night.
For five hours, a DJ and a variety of local acts had kept the 14,000-strong crowd – mostly aged 12-17 – pumped and roaring to go. In fact, by the time I arrived around 10:30 p.m., the police had decreed that nobody else could enter the Rishon Lezion Live Park’s Golden Ring due to overcrowding.
But even five hours of buildup weren’t enough for the international pop superstar, as his personal DJ came out to warm up the crowd and a video clip introduced Derulo (the man known for singing his own name in most of his songs).
The singer himself burst onto the stage in a bedazzled leather jacket as the crowd roared its delight – and he pretty much didn’t stop moving for close to 90 minutes.
Derulo and his impressive cadre of dancers started out with his hit “Wiggle,” before moving on to the classic “Whatcha Say,” and then his 2018 hit “Tip Toe.”
At one point, the singer shed his jacket – and shirt – in the sticky summer night, but still had to keep mopping up sweat as he busted move after move on stage.
“Shalom shalom!” he shouted as the crowd cheered. “I’ve been here once before and it was magical. So when I heard I had the opportunity to come back, I promise I was so excited,” Derulo added before proclaiming: “Yerushalayim shel zahav,” as if it was some sort of catchphrase and not a song about a city he wasn’t in.
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Before Derulo took the stage, local favorite Eden Ben-Zaken performed a shorter set of her biggest hits, which had the crowd singing along to every word.
But Derulo felt the need to bring in some extra hometown flavor to his show.
“My mama said you can’t go to somebody’s home and come empty-handed,” he said. “You have to bring a gift... I brought you guys the biggest gift – the biggest special guest possible.”
With those words, local pop duo and radio constants Static and Ben-El hopped on stage as the audience whooped with joy. And Derulo didn’t even use the opportunity to take a short break, but stayed on stage with the singers and danced alongside them.
Derulo’s energy was infectious and his joy was palpable, but I’d be remiss to not point out one thing. Just two days after Alanis Morissette took the same stage with a message of feminist power – with Derulo in attendance, no less – it’s impossible not to cringe at many of the sexist, objectifying lyrics in his songs.
Derulo isn’t alone in the hip-hop world in this situation, but it still mars some of the enjoyment, when 2013’s “Wiggle” includes the lines “How do you fit all that, in them jeans?/ You know what to do with that big fat butt/ Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle”; and his mega hit “Talk Dirty” has the lyrics “Dos Cadenas, close to genius/ Sold out arenas, you can suck my *****... Got her saved in my phone under ‘Big Booty.’”
All the more so when the crowd is exclusively young people from around the country – his messaging leaves much to be desired. But I can’t deny his catchy hits and palpable zeal made it an incredibly fun evening.
In addition to selling tickets, the festival, sponsored by Coca Cola and produced by Live Nation Israel, gave away 8,000 spots to teens who took part in volunteer activities around the country.
Derulo’s boundless energy kept things going with his hits “Swalla,” “Trumpet” and “Ridin’ Solo” before closing out the night with “In My Head,” “Talk Dirty” and “Want to Want Me.”
The singer departed after 1:30 a.m., but the party kept going until 5 a.m. with several more local acts and artists. But since I’m not 15 anymore, that was my cue to leave.
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