With a lineup as full as the one at this past Saturday’s Freestyle Explosion Throwback Jam at the Amway Center on July 15, there was no doubt Rewind It Magazine would make an appearance there of some sort. Unfortunately, not all of us could attend this time due to other prior commitments, so for the first time ever, I’m actually taking the place of Jesse Striewski as reviewer, and stepped back from behind the camera lens the night of to let our son/apprentice Jacob Striewski shoot another show.
The title of the show did not let down, with one consecutive throwback act from the ’80s/’90s after the other coming on stage and getting straight to the point, launching one hit after another in quick procession. Cynthia was first up for the night, getting things going with dance numbers like “Break Up to Make Up” and “Thief of Heart.”
Cynthia and Johnny O performing “Dreamboy/Dreamgirl” together on stage.
The Jets have always been one of those quaint acts with catchy hits like “Crush on You” and “You Got It All” that were fun to hear live, and the windbreakers each member of the group adorned help keep the old-school vibe going for sure. But one-hit wonders Color Me Badd were not the best act to follow them, and it seemed apparent that some members of the band were only actually lip-syncing the words to songs like “I Wanna Sex You Up.”
Johnny O was up next with songs like “Fantasy Girl,” but the true highlight was without a doubt when Cynthia came back out and joined him on stage at the end of his set to tackle the 1990 hit “Dreamboy/Dreamgirl” together.
Freestyle were no doubt one of my personal favorites of the night, and are a true embodiment of ’80s freestyle music worthy of break-dancing on broken cardboard boxes to. I couldn’t help but move listening to tracks like “It’s Automatic” from 1986 while also wishing I could go back in time.
Freestyle doing their thing on Saturday night at Amway Center.
What ’80s freestyle party would be complete without such skating-rink anthems as “Lookout Weekend” and “When I Hear Music” by Debbie Deb? The singer gave it her all as she belted out some of the most memorable hits of the night.
Robb Base then broke out with his early ’90s hit “It Takes Two” before stepping aside for TKA K7, who I wouldn’t say are exactly in my music range per se, though they seemed to get the crowd moving with hits like “Come Baby Come.”
Then there’s Lisa Lisa, who burst on the scene in the mid-’80s as the leader of Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. Sure hits like “Head to Toe” and “Lost in Emotion” were fun to hear live, but it seemed as though a little too much emphasis was put on her back up dancers, rather than the overall performance.
Lisa Lisa giving it all she’s got in Orlando on Saturday.
And finally, the one and only Stevie B closed out the night. His set did not stray far from when Rewind It Magazine last caught him in 2021, with “Party Your Body,” “I Wanna Be the One,” “In My Eyes,” “Because I Love You (The Postman Song),” and “Spring Love” dominating his set. And on that note, the crowd at Amway Center went home feeling just a little more fulfilled than they had been before stepping into the arena that night.