By: Nydja Hood
No one puts on an old school show quite like the Dell, and on Saturday July 29, it proved just that.
Patty Jackson’s “Party in the Park” this year featured The O’Jays, The Whispers, and the Force MD’s, who put on a throwback show that the city will be talking about for weeks.
Sporting matching gold and white varsity jackets, the Force MD’s took the stage first. They came with style, rhythm, and vocals that reminded the audience what initially made them fall in love with the group over 30 years ago. The crowd couldn’t help but bop their heads and snap their fingers to “Love is a House,” the 1987 hit that the group performed with the same energy as if it were released yesterday, and the group did not hesitate to show off that they still had the moves to go with it as well.
The Whispers graced the stage in all white and lived up to its divine presence, still having the voice of angels. The group never fails to entertain, and glided effortlessly on stage without missing a beat, and neither did the musicians. By the time the group chanted the words “Everybody get up now,” while performing their single “One For the Money,” there was no need for the action. The audience was already on their feet clapping and singing along in a ripple effect throughout the entire venue.
The O’Jays were the last act of the night and put on more than simply a performance, but rather, a production. The group opened its set with a performance of “Ship Ahoy” that told a story with an onscreen montage of visuals timelining historical photos of black activist movements throughout history. The singers were lit under purple neon lights and smoke coming up from the stage. It was truly remarkable to see the group still singing with heart and carrying the same passion behind their stage presence that it did during its early stages in the 60’s. “She Used To Be My Girl” is a hit that can never get old, and it seemed the O’Jays still have just as much fun performing it as the audience does listening to it. The audience nearly danced in sync with the group and sang along with sparkles in their eyes to a classic they have cherished for generations. Anyone in the audience who made the mistake of leaving early missed some of the biggest hits of the night, including the closing performance of “For the Love of Money” that gave the audience a run for theirs.