New Jersey’s Izod Center was transformed into a Las Vegas club Sunday, June 29, 2014 as thousands packed the arena for KTUphoria, a concert organized by New York’s 103.5 radio station. The jam-packed show featured Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, and producers/DJs Calvin Harris, Cash Cash, and The Chainsmokers (best known for their hit “Selfie”).
It was the ultimate dance party marked by a slew of top 40 hits and a crowd of thousands of New Jersey teens and tweens (of course, that is to be expected with any radio-hosted concert). Attendees were handed inflatable light sticks upon entrance and spent the entire night waving them to the beat of the base. Las Vegas club atmosphere complete.
The night kicked off with newly minted star Ariana Grande, who recently turned 21, and who seemed the most at home on the stage. It was as if the concert was catered to Grande, who took the stage a day after announcing her upcoming album “My Everything.” Much of the crowd was there to see her (one tween told me she traveled from Indiana to see Ariana and was even more excited when I told her the singer would be reviving TRL on July 2).
Grande owned the stage with an adorable pink and white mod mini dress paired with knee high white boots and several amazing dancers. The teen sensation played her hits before closing the show with number one hit “Problem” along with Iggy Azalea’s vocals in the background.
Next up was superstar Jennifer Lopez for a short set (way too short, if you ask me) that was essentially a warm-up to whatever tour JLo is planning. The veteran absolutely slayed for the 30 minutes she was on stage proving that, at 44, she’s still got it. JLo rocked a glittery silver bodysuit and sky high heels and she spent most of her allotted time slot dancing (yep, including twerking) and keeping up with her dancers who were surely half her age.
The Bronx native opened with a remix of “Ain’t it Funny” and “I’m Real” featuring a backing track and video by Ja Rule (we miss you!). It was on to recent work with two hits from her latest album “A.K.A”: “First Love” and “Booty” and then back in time to her 2011 Pitbull collaboration “On the Floor”. JLo finally brought the roof down with the much beloved/newly remixed version of “Jenny From the Block,” which was accompanied by bursts of smoke that left her fellow dancers lying on the floor (because JLo is that great).
Calvin Harris took the stage next and it soon became clear that the Scottish DJ/producer is responsible for every club track you’ve listened to in the last couple years. The man has got talent, but he didn’t belong in the center of an arena with a bunch of teens waiting for the base to drop. Or maybe I just wasn’t drunk enough. From “Feel So Close” to “Sweet Nothing” to “Under Control” and finally closing with “We Found Love,” Harris is undoubtedly the most talented and prolific producer/DJ of our time. After listening to him for 45 minutes, it’s no surprise he’s so demanded in Vegas … that’s where he belongs.
But hey, for the majority of the audience, this is the closest they’re gonna get to Sin City, at least for the next decade or so. And KTU did a heck of a job recreating the party atmosphere and proving that, yet again, EDM is a genre that isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Alexandra Finkel contributed reporting.