Jennifer Lopez returns to the Bronx for a free concert to kick-off national music series

She may love to talk about riding the 6 train in the Bronx, but somehow J. Lo never found the time to play a full show in her home borough before Wednesday.

For the multi-media star’s maiden performance on her original turf, she appeared at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park. The free concert kicked off a national music series, sponsored by State Farm Insurance.


During the 90-minute event, Lopez did her best to make up for the lost time, running through every one of her zippy hits, as well as some tracks from her upcoming album, «A.K.A.,» out June 17th.
White hot! Jennifer Lopez performs onstage during her first ever hometown concert Wednesday. White hot! Jennifer Lopez performs onstage during her first ever hometown concert Wednesday.

The show also featured a full line of dancers (mostly male), along with faux fireworks and flames, enhanced by real lasers, and blasts of smoke. Naturally, the star changed frocks in nearly every number.


Opening with «Same Girl,» and closing with «Jenny From The Block,» Lopez tried hard to sell herself as just another «around the way» girl from the Bronx – even if she is one who happens to be one of the world’s most beautiful women, with a fortune that shoots her into the upper-reaches of the 1% «Don’t you just love Bronx summers?,» she gushed. «It’s a dream come true.»

Of course, when dealing with a star of this sort, it never pays to look too closely under the hood. As re-proven by Wednesday’s show, Lopez falls far from the rank of great singers. Her voice remains reedy with an undistinguished timbre. With the tinny sound system here, she sounded particularly shrill.

Lopez pushed the limits of her instrument in a particularly ill-advised section that showcased musicals of her youth. It was one thing to take on thin-voiced Diane Ross with «Theme from Mahogany.» It was quite another to attempt Barbra Streisand’s «My Man,» which had just as alarming results as you’d expect.

Luckily, Lopez remains a perfectly likable spokesperson for herself, with a heap of natural charisma to call on. She also can project a caring persona, one she honed on a certain long-ago popular singing competition TV show. To help her out, she had some handy guest star rappers, including Ja Rule, French Montana, and Fat Joe, who contributed his own ideal summer novelty hit «Lean Back.»

Lopez also has had a bunch of attractive hits which have been fashioned around her over the years, from «Love Don’t Cost A Thing» to «If You Had My Love.» «Waiting for Tonight» remains a peak bit of retro-disco. They all turned up here. J. Lo also featured the new single «First Love,» produced the king of Swedish candy pop Max Martin.

All of them sounded just as bouncy as they should. They’re the kind of songs girls (and boys) love to sing on the 6 train. Even if the star herself wouldn’t be caught dead riding it these days, at least this show proved she still has home in her heart.