Jennifer Lopez puts on the biggest spectacle Summerfest has ever seen for her first Milwaukee concert

Piet Levy
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
View Comments

She judged "American Idol" auditions at the Milwaukee Art Museum and debuted a fashion line at Kohl's headquarters, but not once across her 20-year music career has Jennifer Lopez performed a concert in the city.

She finally made it up to her Milwaukee fans Wednesday, putting on the biggest spectacle in Summerfest's 52-year history at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

Lopez's "It's My Party" tour is timed to her 50th birthday later this month and she kicked it off in grand fashion Wednesday, singing newest single "Medicine" suspended from a shimmering chandelier made of champagne glasses.

On terra firma for "Love Don't Cost A Thing," Lopez stayed in lockstep with her extraordinary army of dancers as pillars of white balloons fell down behind her and flooded the stage.

But Lopez proved she's one of pop music's finest dancers all on her own, with a solo routine with a bedazzled walking stick for "Get It Right," complete with hair flips, body pops and fireworks. By the end of the song, Lopez still had enough stamina to bounce on the stage while squatting, flailing her arms in the air to fire up the crowd — all while wearing 6-inch heels.

All of that happened in the first 10 minutes of a two-hour event filled with massive moments.

Jennifer Lopez performs during a stop of her It's My Party tour at T-Mobile Arena on June 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Press photography was not permitted at her American Family Insurance Amphitheater show at Summerfest Wednesday.

I counted at least 24 dancers on stage ahead of "Dinero," with Lopez making a grand entrance on top of a 12-foot-tall golden vault. And for the climactic stretch of dance anthems "Dance Again" and "On the Floor" near the end, there were heart-pumping bass builds, head-spinning choreography, dizzying lasers and lights and a superstar relishing it all — all followed by a crowd-suffocating blizzard of white balloons and gold and silver confetti. 

Lopez didn't need humongous spectacle to be spectacular. Even the between song banter had charisma, like the way Lopez, embellishing her diva-like tendencies, polled the crowd to see if the lights were "hugging" her just right. And I lost count of all the costume changes, but every look was ornate and inspired, from a red carpet ready, flowing gown to a shimmering bodysuit with an exposed leg and buttock that Lopez cheekily called her "birthday suit."

Without any aerobic demands, she showed off the strength of her voice singing the Sia-penned "Limitless" — and in a lovely moment, brought her 11-year-old daughter Emme on stage to sing with her.

She also brought something rarely heard, but certainly needed, at Summerfest: pop en español. There was a superb rendition of "Si Una Vez," sung in tribute to the late Tejano singer Selena, who Lopez portrayed in a 1997 biopic. And a stretch of Lopez's Latin hits climaxed with "El Anilo," and with Lopez dancing on top of a glittery grand piano and jumping down for a heart-racing salsa with her dancers, where human beings (and Lopez herself) were casually tossed around like basketballs. 

Considering the sheer magnitude of Lopez's concert, it's a shame more people weren't there to experience it. The 23,000-seat amphitheater was, at most, at 70% capacity.

But Lopez's appearance was long overdue and it wouldn't have been possible at Summerfest, fest officials said, if the amphitheater roof hadn't been raised to 65 feet this year to accommodate bigger productions, part of a $53 million redesign to be completed by 2020. 

Summerfest raised the roof and Lopez basically blew it off the place.


1. "Medicine"

2. "Love Don't Cost A Thing"

3. "Get Right"

4. "Dinero"

5. "I'm Real"

6. "Ain't It Funny"

7. "Jenny From The Block"

8. "If You Had My Love"

9. "Girls"

10. "Booty"

11. "Gravity" (Sara Bareilles cover)

12. "Si Una Vez" (Selena cover)

13. "Limitless"/"Titanium"

14. "Ain't Your Mama"

15. "All I Have" 

16. "Te Bote"

17. "Te Guste"

18. "El Anillo"

19. "Waiting For Tonight"

20. "Dance Again"

21. "On The Floor"

RELATED:Jennifer Lopez meets Sheboygan Lutheran valedictorian whose speech about being gay was nixed

RELATED:Summerfest 2019: Yungblud, Lauren Alaina and more of the best and worst from the side stages on Day 7

RELATED:Not sure what to see at Summerfest 2019? Plan your visit with our interactive schedule.

Contact Piet at (414) 223-5162 or Follow him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Facebook at

Piet also talks concerts, local music and more on "TAP'd In" with Jordan Lee. Hear it at 8 a.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9), or wherever you get your podcasts.

View Comments