By Matt De Marco, Staff Writer
Random. Entertaining. Eclectic. Fun—take your pick from any of these words, and you'll have the appropriate description for Hofstra's "Live at 75" Festival.
The university went all-out in celebrating its Diamond Anniversary, turning the intramural fields into a fairground, complete with a slew of rides, carnival-style games, and a massive stage where music artists Sha Na Na, Blue Oyster Cult, Lisa Lisa, Public Enemy, Fountains of Wayne, and Trey Songz performed…to mixed reactions.
After an impressive dance routine by the Hofstra Cheerleaders and the Hofstra Dance Team and a well-sung, yet misplaced rendition of "The Wizard and I" from Wicked by Hofstra student Julie Fernandez, the festival was underway.
Sha Na Na kicked things off, performing pop-rock standards like "The Hop," "The Twist," and "16 Candles." They were then joined by Hofstra professor Dr. Robert Leonard, reuniting the original band lineup for the first time in almost 40 years. Together, they put on a fun, lively performance.
Former Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon was then introduced as the evening's host. After pumping up the crowd, she introduced the next act: Long Island's own Blue Oyster Cult. Breaking out many of their hits (complete with cowbell), the band had the entire crowd begging for more. The Cult was the only band to receive a "one more song" chant, to which they had to disappoint due to time restrictions.
Representing the 1980's was pop star Lisa Lisa. What was expected to be the low point of the show ended up pleasantly surprising everyone in attendance; Lisa Lisa was fun! Most of the current students didn't really knew who she was, but many of the parents and alumni there were all singing along.
Next came Public Enemy, and almost immediately, a haze came over the crowd. Throughout their entire set, not one word could be understood, but it didn't matter because the crowd just wanted to see Flav be his ridiculous self. Dancing, standing on top of speakers, jumping off the stage to high-five the crowd—he even took on the role of peace-keeper when a mild scuffle broke out in the crowd. Chuck D, the head of the group, invited the aggressor to come on stage and prove how tough he was. The thug declined the offer.
What was even more impressive than the group's mediating abilities was how they effectively preached the importance of education to the crowd. "The cheapest price to pay is attention," said Chuck D, as the group finished up "Fight the Power." "Get what you paid for. Don't come here just to flunk out."
Fountains of Wayne were next…and they were terrible. Nobody knew who they were, and they seemed just as unenthused about being there as the crowd was to see them. They played two songs that nobody had ever heard before, then played their one hit, "Stacy's Mom." If Fountains of Wayne were there to represent the first decade of the new millennium, then those 10 years were dead.
Finally, it was time for the night's headliner, Trey Songz. The crowd went electric; event security staff had to physically support the barricades because the crowd would have easily knocked them over otherwise. Songz sang all of his hits giving the crowd exactly what it wanted.
In the end, Hofstra put on an impressive show, leaving all in attendance deaf and smiling.