Shalamar Reloaded recently transformed The Roxy in West Hollywood into one big celebratory dance party complete with an extended dance off featuring freestyle, street, whacking and hip-hop moves. Along with a crew of professional dancers, audience participation was extended to the fans that were thrilled and happy to jump up onstage and get close to their idol – the legendary dance diva herself – Jody Watley. The style icon was in fine form, singing as good as ever, and looking fabulous showing off a few wardrobe changes that were edgy and current, but as always showcased her own trendsetting flair. The sold-out show kicked off with an impressive set by GRAMMY award-winning DJ Vikter Duplaix who spun records combining classic and modern-day R&B, pop, house and funk sounds that primed the crowd and heightened their excitement for the main event. A cool remix of Adele’s “Rolling The Deep” was a highlight of Duplaix’s set.
Shalamar Reloaded, featuring her stellar and diverse backing band, which also included lead singer Nate Allen Smith and choreographer/vocalist Rosero McCoy, gave the next chapter in the group’s history and reboot a fresh vitality and vibrancy. The addition of Smith and McCoy breathed new life into the signature Shalamar material which featured “Take That To The Bank,” “Second Time Around,” “Make That Move” and “Night To Remember.” New material off of Watley’s latest EP “Paradise” had a clubby vibe feel with “Nightlife and “Dancer.” “Sanctuary,” was more on the mellow and chill side, touting the virtues of one’s home being your comfortable and peaceful place.
Watley was in a reflective mood speaking to the audience between songs talking about loving more and hating less in the world and reminiscing about her father with appreciation and tenderness who supported her talent and encouraged her dreams. She also thanked the people in her life professionally including Gerald Brown, the original Shalamar lead singer, who sang on “Nightlife” and was at the show as well.
The second half of the performance was a tribute to Watley’s wildly successful career as a breakout solo artist and featured the radio hits – “Looking For A New Love,” “Some Kind of Lover,” “Don’t You Want Me” and “Friends.” She also did a nice cover of Chic’s lush and melodic song “I Want Your Love.” A dizzying array of visuals from her memorable and creative music videos and unforgettable photo shoots from the biggest fashion magazines in the world reinforced how important Watley was to the landscape of pop culture in the late 1980s and 1990s. And now, as she says to her fans in concert, that age is just as number, Jody Watley is serving notice she isn’t resting on her past glories and proved she is still a talented force to be reckoned with.