Last Night: Pitbull at The Woodlands
"I went from eviction and food stamps, to baggin work wet & damp, to a passport flooded with stamps. Now its Voli everywhere I land."
The date was December 1, 2006 -- or as I like to call it, the night I almost died at a Pitbull concert. Back then, I was just starting to learn how to use my camera, and the rapper was still playing clubs and car shows.
He had already experienced some acclaim and success, riding the wave of 2004's M.I.A.M.I. and 2005's Money Is Still a Major Issue. But his dream of becoming "Mr. Worldwide" was still roughly five years away.
Back to my near-death experience... If there's one thing you should know, it is this: The ladies absolutely LOVE Pitbull. He had swag before the term was invented. And on that night, I was front-row center, in the middle of a gaggle of overly obsessed and very drunk ladies, one of whom grabbed onto my neck and nearly choked me out before security intervened.
It wasn't my proudest moment, but I got my photos nonetheless.
Thursday night at The Woodlands, Pitbull put on a show that encompassed the heat and energy of Carnaval and New Year's Eve into one long, hot, and frenetic dance party. Somewhere along the way, the rapper with the ability to spit lyrics of love and lust at rapid-fire speed transformed himself into the pied piper of club anthems.
With oversized shades and an all-black designer suit, the man born Armando Cristian Perez made Houston feel just like his beloved city of Miami -- loud and flashy, cheerful and confident. What used to be a man with only a microphone and a DJ, is now an arena-worthy performer with a production of spectacularly blinding lights and an impeccably crisp and stellar back-up band.
The crowd screamed as he descended the platform at the center of the stage, beginning his set with "Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor)", an electric call to the dance floor with T-Pain supplying the hook. Pit doesn't need back-up dancers, he does it on his own, gyrating his hips and flashing his toothy grin with bad-boyish charm.
His suit was quickly drenched in sweat. He continued with "International Love" and then "Dance Again". The ladies, dressed in their shortest club dresses and highest of high heels, loved every minute.