It's been said before, but when the "America's Best Dance Crew" Live Tour hit Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre on Thursday night, it couldn't have rung truer: JabbaWockeeZ is the best dance crew ever, period, the end. OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but judging from the jam-packed theater, with teens decked out in white masks, gloves, and colorful Jabba t-shirts, it was clear that the people came to see JabbaWockeeZ, and luckily for them, that's exactly what they got … and then some!
The show opened with welcoming remarks from Mr. Randy 'Dawg' Jackson. He reminded the amped-up audience (as if they already didn't know) that they were about to witness "the hottest show of the year." With the crowd on their feet in eager anticipation, the five headlining crews: Fanny Pak, Break Sk8, A.S.I.I.D., Super Cr3w, and JabbaWockeeZ each took to the stage with never-seen-before mini-routines highlighting their unique personalities and individual styles of dance. JabbaWockeeZ's slow-mo opening performance left the audience hootin' and hollerin' for more -- a definite crowd pleaser. Then, the crews introduced themselves and did routines made up of a series of memorable moments from "ABDC." Break Sk8 showed of their athleticism on roller skates while playing basketball, A.S.I.I.D. did their infamous booty-shaking dog walk, JabbaWockeeZ pulled at my heartstrings with their "Apologize" routine (my favorite!), Super Cr3w channeled Clark Kent/Superman, and Fanny Pak got their freak on at an 80's prom.
Los Angeles ticket holders then got an exclusive treat with special guest performances by Season 1's all-girl group Fysh 'N Chicks, along with isolation masters, Kaba Modern. Both crews did not disappoint as they rocked it out on stage. After that, all five crews returned for a huge, history of hip hop-themed set that found the dancers doing favorite dances throughout the years from the Running Man to the super popular Soulja Boy. And here's when it got awesomely spectacular... In a nod to the future of hip hop dance, an intergalactic video clip of the masked men was shown and then they killed it with another original routine. Despite their eerie masks, JabbaWockeeZ had the girls swooning (myself included) as they blew kisses towards screaming female fans during a boy band-like bit in the whopping 9 minute futuristic performance.
After a short 10 minute intermission, Colby O'Donis opened the second act of the show to a bored crowd. This was undoubtedly the lowest point of the show. It wasn't because Colby was a bad performer. The fact is, the fans didn't come to see a concert, they came to see their favorite crews dance!
One of the best parts of the show came next when the crews honored the unbelievably talented Michael and Janet Jackson. Season 2 crews did the "Rhythm Nation" group routine and their Janet performances, and Break Sk8 and JabbaWockeeZ paid tribute to the King of Pop with their Season 1 dances, meaning that I got to see Jabba's "PYT" dance number again, up close and personal! In a routine that the group performed this past September for the BMI Urban Awards, five of the six JabbaWockeeZ came out in silver masks, big afros, and 70's attire (bell bottoms and all!) to dance to Jackson 5's (hence the missing Jabba member) "Dance Machine."
Amidst the "crew's choice" routines (where each crew picked their favorite routine from the TV show to perform on the tour), I got a little teary-eyed when JabbaWockeeZ asked for a moment of silence in order to pay respects to one of their fallen brothers, Gary "Gee One" Kendall, who passed away in Denver, Colorado last December before the first season of 'ABDC' taped.
Luckily, the night ended on a high note as a faux dance battle between the five crews went down. It was obviously choreographed but still full of energy and hugely entertaining. Fanny Pak even donned hot pink Jabba masks, and Super Cr3w rolled out in low rider scooters. Even though there was no clear-cut 'battle' winner, loads of fun was had by both dancers and audience members.
"ABDC" definitely stepped it up for the tour and was able to transfer the best elements of the TV show to the live stage. All five crews chosen for the tour were awesome, and the mixture of their styles made for a perfect blend of dancing entertainment, but I think all present would have to agree that the stars of the show were the JabbaWockeeZ. They completely lived up to fans' expectations, proving that they really are "America's Best Dance Crew" … on the television screen and in the flesh.