Day four of the 16th annual Rock the Park in London Ontario held its share of surprises. It’s all part of the charm of an outdoor show. The lineup consisted of Floridians T-Pain, Flo Rida, and Pitbull. Three Florida men and no outrageous news story attached. Things are looking up for the sunshine state.
Unfortunately, none of acts brought Florida sunshine to London on Saturday. Despite impending rain, Saturday started on time, albeit with a change in the order of performances. A scheduling conflict required a change up to have the former headliner, Pitbull, perform first. The weather held off long enough to complete all but his last two songs, which is good, because Pitbull’s are not considered great water dogs. Due to the likelihood of lightning, Event organizers evacuated the park and requested people come back to re-enter the park once the storm had moved past. The weather had moved past by 8pm and ticket holders were once again allowed into the venue. By 8:30 concert organizers assured the crowd that they would get the full show they were hoping for, even if the organizers had to pay post curfew noise fines as a result. Kudos to Rock the Park for doing the right thing for the fans. Besides, good music is supposed to challenge the establishment. Noise fines should be a badge of honor.
The show got rolling again at 8:30pm. Next up was T-Pain. Mr Pain is best known as the guy who brought the use of auto tune into music as a vocal effect. Thanks for that, T-Pain.
It’s a pretty cool thing to follow the headliner. It’s also a recipe for disaster. Tales abound of screwing over bands by making them follow the headliner and play to empty venues. The only thing that is worse than having a bad opener is one that is TOO good. Fortunately, this line up had a level of talent that allowed a good show despite the shuffling of artists. All Autotune related grudges aside, T-Pain is a guy with real musical chops. He’s had 6 of his own albums, and has been credited on 89 singles. In short, T-Pain has been on more albums than most record needles. Despite his infamy as the “auto tune guy”, he can sing. This was proven to the crowds delight as T Pain pulled out song after song that isn’t his that he pulled off beautifully. He put on a performance that makes one understand why he was the winner over Gladys Knight, Donny Osmond, and La Toya Jackson. T pain rapidly went from a guy who had a tough act to follow into being the tough act to follow.
Flo Rida came out on stage with guns blazing, starting with “Good Feeling”, and following it up with hit after hit. He put on a nonstop high energy show that was worth the wait and deserving of the closing spot on the closing night of a four-day festival. For a performer as well regarded as Flo Rida, one would expect no less.
As challenging as the day might have been, these three Florida natives took everything and ran with it. It’s really no surprise. These three are from the land of Hurricanes, alligators, and old people constantly driving like they’re looking for a place to park. What’s a little thunderstorm in comparison to that?
All Photos by David Booth