“It’s a beautiful night, and there’s beautiful people here. After the show, we’re hoping to find a quiet spot on the lake to go skinny dipping!”
That’s how Pitbull – Mr. Worldwide – introduced himself on what he said was his first visit to Tahoe, taking the stage at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s and kicking off just over an hour of music. The unseasonally cloudy skies on the warm summer night made it easy to imagine the balmy humid nights in his native Miami. Pitbull’s home turf influences his party-anthem lyrics as well as the strong Latin percussion underlying nearly every song.
Wearing his uniform of shades, black polo shirt and pressed slacks, Pitbull moved throughout the stage, weaving in and out of his troupe of dancers who were mostly clad in a changing wardrobe of glittery bodysuits. With music, movement and charisma exuding that Miami nightclub sexuality, Pitbull worked through what seemed like a medley of iconic dance radio songs spanning the past decade.
“Remember when he was on like every song on the radio around 2009 or so?” the person next to me asked before the show. Songs such as “Hotel Room Service,” “Timber,” “I Know You Want Me,” and “Fireball” are those songs that everyone knows, even if they don’t know they know them. And when Pitbull performed them in rapid succession, the entire crowd dancing appeared almost fluid across the arena.
Between songs, there was almost a Papa Worldwide vibe, as the lights dimmed and Pitbull stood center stage, imparting pearls of wisdom and talking about how he’s allergic to negative vibes, or that every day above ground is a good day. He even told the Lake Tahoe fans that he wanted them to get so loud that everyone in Las Vegas and Reno would be jealous.
But cheesy clichés and geographical faux pas aside, his monologues provided a few minutes of sincerity and a feeling that performers can discuss music’s ability to bring people of all nationalities and native languages together. Then the stage erupted into a climactic burst of smoke cannons, dancers, video projections and Pitbull acting as party ringleader for thousands of people who came to dance.
After taking a shot of liquor onstage and dedicating it to the fan with a terminal illness who he met backstage before the show, it was a timely reminder that time is limited, and everyone should be enjoying it. Dozens of celebrities were among the concertgoers, taking a break from the American Century Championship golf tournament held across the street at Edgwood Tahoe.
When it was all over and the stage went dark, I can only hope that at least a few members of the audience took him up on his plan and ended the night naked in Lake Tahoe on this summer night.
— Shaun Astor