The world-famous Seaside Heights boardwalk is packed this Saturday, August 7, 2021 evening as the sun begins to set over the Jersey shore. Happy screams can be heard emanating from the Tilt-A-Whirl and Skyscraper rides on Casino Pier, and vacationers can be seen enjoying cheesy pizza and tasty ice cream treats while strolling the boards, but the main attraction that has people lined up with beach chairs and blankets is tonight’s Freestyle at the Beach concert starring Lisa Lisa, George Lamond, Judy Torres, and DJ Whiteboy.
On a stage located on the beach just south of Casino Pier, DJ Whiteboy warms up the crowd as the beach fills with music lovers of all ages. Here, in a breezy spot where the salt water meets the sand, we take a moment to chat with concert-goers including Alice and Brigham from Bayonne who are happily dancing to the music and taking pictures with the blue Atlantic in the background.
Exclaims Alice, “I love freestyle music from the late ’80s and the early ‘90s! It makes me feel 19 again, when I used to listen to it on my cassette tapes.” A fan of all the freestyle artists slated to appear here tonight, Alice explains, “Freestyle music is great dance music with a positive message. It’s about love and freedom and has a good vibe to it. It makes me feel like I could reach my hand in the air and touch the moon!”
Acknowledging, “Originally, I had decided to come to tonight’s concert by myself,” Alice confesses, “but I was singing the whole ride down here from Bayonne to the point where my Uber driver decided to cancel all his rides tonight and join me at the show.”
Brigham, the Uber driver, confirms Alice’s story explaining, “She didn’t have to twist my arm; I grew up with this music, too! Plus I love the ocean and the boardwalk — I always came to Seaside Heights when I was a kid — and having this show here right on the beach tonight is amazing. I’m having a good time already!”
We also chat with Melissa from Paterson who’s relaxing on her beach blanket just steps from the cool Atlantic. States Melissa, “I like all the artists who are here tonight, especially George Lamond, because his music is really easy to dance to.” Recalling, “Growing up freestyle was my favorite; I like the beat,” Melissa additionally notes, “I also came to see the water tonight. I really like Seaside Heights — the water, the boardwalk, the games — I like everything about it.”
Next, we catch up with Nadine from New Haven, CT who’s dancing in the sand to DJ Whiteboy’s music. Says Nadine, “This is my first time in Seaside Heights, but I know it from the TV show, Jersey Shore, and it’s really nice!” Revealing, “I came here tonight for this concert, especially to see Judy Torres, who’s amazing — she’s really good with the fans, and so personable,” Nadine notes, “But I like freestyle music in general — it’s just fun music,” explaining, “I’d describe it as a combination of electronica and Latin music — it’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was a little girl.”
Veronica from East Hanover is a younger member of the crowd who tells us, “I love freestyle! My mom played it back when I was little.” Admitting, “I like all the artists here tonight, but Lisa Lisa is my favorite,” Veronica says she’s back in Seaside Heights after attending another concert earlier this summer. “I was here a few weeks ago to see Tiffany,” recalls Veronica. “I got a picture with her and got my cassettes signed by her, too,” adding, “I even made a Facebook page as a result of it. It was great!”
Lastly, we chat with Armando from Queens, NY who contends, “I just love it here in Seaside Heights! This morning, we went to the water park — the weather here has been just great!” Continuing, “I just had to see this concert,” Armando acknowledges, “I was raised on freestyle music. When my aunt would babysit me, she would play her cassettes on big speakers — and now I’ll get to hear those same songs performed live right here on the beach!”
As DJ Whiteboy spins his tunes, a pseudo conga line starts in the sand and people dance single file, following one another and turning the beach into a pulsating dance floor.
Music lovers also groove to the music as they sing along with songs like Sugar Hill Gang’s “Apache” and a freestyle remix of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name,” all dancing and singing with their fingers pointing into the air.
DJ Whiteboy announces, “Are you ready for showtime? Let’s bring onto the stage freestyle and radio legend Judy Torres!” Making her entrance in a stylish flowing orange dress, Torres inquires, “How’s everybody feeling out there?”
Dancing with her signature freestyle moves and her hair flowing in the breeze, phones are up in the crowd as music lovers capture video of Torres crooning, “There’s no reason to cry/My love/Dry your tears, my love/I’m here, now, always, forever,” from her 1987 hit, “No Reason to Cry.”
During her set, Torres performs a number of her other freestyle hits including 1989’s “Love Story,” where she sings, “Love story/Dreams come true/Dreams come true in a love story/It happened like I wanted it to/Love story.” Between songs, she tells her own stories, even talking about COVID-19 at one point, recalling, “I felt like I was a bad girl; I felt like I was in ‘time-out’ for about a year and a half!”
After exclaiming, “When I found out Lisa Lisa was performing tonight and that I would be on the same bill with her, it was a big deal for me!” Torres announces, “Thank you for over 30 years of being faithful to freestyle!” Here, she sings her 2005 cover of Journey’s “Faithfully,” which she dedicates to her fans.
Torres also makes it a point to welcome the newcomers in the crowd to freestyle music explaining, “Freestyle is about love — it’s like an English telenovela!” before pointing out to the women in the audience, “Ladies, we want to be priority, not an option!”
A highlight of Torres’ set is a live rendition of her 1987 hit, “Come Into My Arms,” which has listeners singing, dancing, and smiling to the infectious beat. The crowd cheers as Torres holds out a super-long note while she dances, and she ends her set by exclaiming, “I love you very much!” to which DJ Whiteboy announces, “Wow! That’s how you start a concert!”
Out in the crowd, just steps from the sea, Alice from Bayonne agrees, declaring, “She was freaking amazing — an absolute legend; a Puerto Rican princess!” before revealing, “This was my first time ever seeing Judy Torres in person. She was phenomenal!”
Rob from Bayville concurs, adding, “I grew up with freestyle music and Judy Torres is my favorite performer ever!” noting, “I just moved here to Ocean County from Bergen County. Now that I live ‘down the shore’ I can come to the ocean whenever I want. It’s great!”
As the ultimate beach party continues, DJ Whiteboy announces, “Legends are in the building. Make some noise for George Lamond!”
Lamond makes his entrance to applause and whistles exclaiming, “What’s up New Jersey? We’re gonna take you back to 1990! Turn it up! Ladies say Yo!” to which all the ladies in the house reply with an avid “Yo!”
During his set, Lamond performs hits like 1989’s “Without You,” where he croons, “Without you/Without you/I don’t know what I’ll do without you girl.” Even though it starts to drizzle a bit on the beach, it doesn’t dampen the spirits of anyone here in the happy crowd.
As DJ Whiteboy scratches, Lamond dances to songs like 1990’s “Look Into My Eyes.” He also chats with the audience, telling them, “I’m a huge fan, so we’re gonna switch things all up on this one,” before performing his rendition of The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” prancing around the stage as he invites the crowd to do the same on his freestyle mix of songs.
Lamond tells the crowd, “On Feb. 25, I turned 55! Should I keep going?” to which the audience responds with an emphatic “Yeah!”
Announcing, “This next one is by Steve Perry from Journey — I need my freakin’ oxygen for it!” the crowd joyfully joins him in singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” with cellphone flashlights swaying and hands clapping overhead.
While focusing his attention on the vast audience on the beach, Lamond takes a moment to wave to a group of people on the boardwalk who are happily dancing and singing along with Lamond and his music.
After announcing, “In 1980, this song went to #23 on the pop charts,” Lamond concludes his set with his Top 40 hit, “Bad of the Heart.” Joining in on the catchy “Bad of the heart/You never wanted to start/‘Cause you’re just bad of the heart” lyric, the crowd cheers and Lamond shouts, “New Jersey, I love you!” before teasing, “and I’ve got Lisa Lisa waiting in the back!”
As stagehands set the stage for Lisa Lisa and Co., we take a moment to chat with two friends, CoeEllen from West Caldwell and Gina from Montvale, here to enjoy tonight’s freestyle music event together.
Exclaims CoeEllen, “We love George Lamond! My favorite song of his is ‘Bad of the Heart,’” acknowledging, “We’ve seen him lots of times at several different Jersey clubs.” Gina agrees, noting, “We’ve seen George together and separately,” and further adding, “My favorite song of his tonight was ‘Without You.’”
DJ Whiteboy exclaims, “Whiteboy is out!” and the crowd responds with “Yay, Whiteboy!” At this point, a new DJ — DJ Cruize — starts to spin as Lisa Lisa takes center stage backed by a cast of five dancers and two backup vocalists.
The crowd immediately starts to sing along on Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s 1991 Top 40 hit, “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em.” On this lively number, the dancers are in complete sync, looking cool and sexy in their black studded outfits.
Lisa smiles as she performs her 1987 #1 pop hit, “Lost in Emotion.” Crooning, “I’m lost in emotion/Telling you things you really shouldn’t know/Oh, baby, I’m lost in emotion/Am I a fool? At least my friends think so,” the crowd happily joins her in singing this catchy tune.
After announcing, “Let me hear you out there!” the crowd joyfully responds with hoots and hollers and Lisa confesses, “Being on stage is my life — my world. You all look good! Having fun?” to which the audience reacts with whistles and cheers.
Lisa continues her show with hits like 1994’s “When I Fell in Love,” its cool groove mesmerizing the crowd as her stagemates come downstage to sing and move along with one of the pioneering Latina performers whose music preceded that of artists like Selena and Jennifer Lopez.
An audience member cries out, “You are ‘The Queen!’” and Lisa responds by performing her 1986 Top 10 Cult Jam hit, “All Cried Out.” She and her two backup vocalists harmonize in three-parts while hands sway back and forth in the crowd.
At one point, Lisa stops singing and a male dancer brings her a tissue and a glass of water. Lisa pats her eyes dry and takes a sip of water before impressing the crowd with an a cappella riff that brings the performance to a spectacular conclusion.
Everyone claps and the dancers jive and double clap in time to the funky groove of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s 1985 hit, “Can You Feel the Beat.” Lisa shines centerstage enjoying the positive energy on this electrifying number where the dancers get down and audience members wave their hands in the air as they sing with Lisa all the way to the concert’s final note.
As happy music lovers make their way from the beach back onto the boardwalk, we take a moment to chat with several in the crowd including Tina from Rahway who declares, “Lisa Lisa was great! She’s ‘old school,’ but she still sounds amazing!” Continuing, “My favorite song tonight was ‘All Cried Out,’” Tina explains, “I love freestyle! It’s happy music, and seeing a concert on the beach like this is a whole new experience. It’s such a great thing — I really loved it!”
Lastly, we catch up with Melissa from Paterson, with whom we spoke before the concert, who neatly sums things up when she smiles and exclaims, “I really came here to Seaside Heights on the right day! All this music and all this water truly makes this ‘My happy place!’”
To learn more about Lisa Lisa, please go to thereallisalisa.com. To find out more about George Lamond, click on georgelamond.com. For further information about Judy Torres, check out facebook.com/judytorresmusic. For more in DJ Whiteboy, go to facebook.com/DjWhiteboy. To learn about future musical events and more in Seaside Heights, NJ, please go to exit82.com.
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