Today's the day of the MTV Total Request Live concert at the Blaisdell Arena, featuring Destiny's Child.
By Gary C. W. Chun
Well, at least an abbreviated form of it. The hot, urban R&B headliners are here, but not rappers Eve and Nelly, who were originally part of the national summer tour.
Honolulu concertgoers should consider themselves lucky that our islands are such a draw to visitors, both ordinary and mega-star. Original word from the group's publicist's office in New York City announced that the remainder of the MTV TRL tour dates after Sept. 11, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Anchorage, Alaska, were either canceled or postponed due to concern over air travel security in light of the terrorist attack on the United States.
But tonight's date would still be honored. With arena staff members in regular contact with mainland promoter Al Haymon, setup for the show began around 2 p.m. yesterday, with Destiny's Child and the rest of their tour party in transit to Honolulu. The additional Sunday show, however, was canceled, and refunds are being given out at the box office.
At last report there were only about 100 tickets left for tonight's show.
Because of Eve and Nelly's cancellation from the tour, there was a bit of a scramble to find replacement acts for the concert. Local vocal acts Forté and DisGuyz were confirmed by Destiny's Child management in L.A. early yesterday afternoon to be tonight's opening acts.
The ladies themselves are no strangers to Hawaii. The group performed here as a quartet last April as an opening act for Britney Spears' free Waikiki Beach concert, which was videotaped for a Fox TV special. Some additional recording was done here, as Troy Gonzalez and Ramon Morales of TK Studios received credit for their work on Destiny's Child's contribution to the "Charlie's Angels" soundtrack, "Independent Women Part 1."
At the time of their Hawaii visit, the vocal group was bumpily negotiating their ride to superstardom while building on the success of 1999's Grammy-nominated hit "Bills, Bills, Bills," a bit of male-bashing that followed along the lines of TLC's "No Scrubs." The sultry "Say My Name" was Destiny's Child's follow-up hit last year, with the group's lineup at the time being Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin (the latter two replacing original members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson in February 2000).
As reported in an Entertainment Weekly cover story that December, Luckett and Roberson were dismissed by group manager (and Beyoncé's father) Mathew Knowles after the two of them tried to get him fired for favoring his daughter. Franklin and Williams came on board, but less than six months later, Franklin was fired for allegedly missing several of the group's promotional appearances.
It's also been reported that Knowles' father founded Destiny's Child as a vehicle for his daughter back in 1995. And what with a starring role in MTV's "hip-hopera" version of "Carmen," a high-profile product endorsement for L'Oreal hair coloring and co-producing much of the group's current "Survivor" album, there's truth in that, with Beyoncé herself coming across like a Diana Ross of the new generation, with Rowland and Williams filling in as her Supremes.
And, much like their Motown predecessors, these young women are in it for the long haul. They've survived their own 15 minutes of fame to grow as formidable entertainers. According to a Los Angeles Times review from earlier this month, tonight's Honolulu audience can expect the group to make a grand entrance onstage amid stage smoke and pyrotechnics, costumed in glittery hot pants and tops, with a couple of costume changes thrown in, like bikinis for "Bootylicious" and, aptly enough for the islands, grass skirts for "Survivor."
Also, considering that they sang at George W. Bush's inaugural party, some reference probably will be made sometime during their show about the tragic events of Sept. 11.
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