The last time Jamiroquai graced New York City with its presence, they sold out the newly opened Nokia Theater Times Square for two nights back in 2005. The band was hot off the heels of their latest release, Dynamite, and it seemed like the United States could not get enough of their frontman, Jay Kay. Fast forward to 2018 and the East Coast was aching for some Jamiroquai news. After teasing 4 U.S. dates via Twitter, it was finally announced that their triumphant return to NYC would occur on September 8 at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens.
Saturday finally arrived and the crowd did as well to a day full of drizzle and promise. Gangstarr’s DJ Premier took the stage at 7 pm to start a massive dance party for anyone that beat the traffic. The legendary producer spun ’90s hip hop tracks for the ever-growing crowd to get down to as the sky continued to open up on everyone that arrived. He warmed up the crowd for 45 minutes before the stage was set for the main act.
Just after 8 pm, the enormous screen on stage lit up and the band members began to assemble as Jay Kay ran on stage to a thunderous applause. As Jay’s helmet moved up and down while changing colors, they started things out with “Shake It On,” off of the new album, Automaton, before diving into 2001’s “Little L” off of A Funk Odyssey. The party continued with “Use The Force” and the always funky “Space Cowboy.”
“Alright” from Traveling Without Moving kicked the crowd into fifth gear and gave everyone the opportunity to sing along with Jay during the chorus. He brought it back to 2018 with “Dr Buzz” off the new album and followed that up with the hit, “(Don’t) Give Hate a Chance.” Continuing the hop between decades, they dove into “Main Vein” as the rain started coming down a little harder. No precipitation was going to keep this crowd from enjoying their night and the classic “Runaway” was the perfect soundtrack to the weather. Jay was met with a phenomenal cheer as he sang the opening lyrics, “Can you dig it? There’s something in the air tonight”.
Jamiroquai knows what their fans love and “Cosmic Girl” could not have come at a better time in the show. This psychedelic disco track illuminated the crowd as they continued to lose their minds before Jay slowed things down and treated everyone to the slow version of “Emergency on Planet Earth” off of their debut album. Soon enough, the sounds of Jay’s Lamborghini Diablo SE30 could be heard over the speakers as they dove into “Travelling Without Moving.”
The crowd exploded with cheers as they started “Canned Heat” and I certainly saw at least a dozen ‘Vote for Pedro’ shirts dancing harder than anyone else. Jay allowed his bandmates to really jam out this song and the funky beat never stopped. The last song of the set was 2002’s “Love Foolosophy” and the crowd could not have been more receptive of this choice. Jay thankfully understood the strict 10 pm curfew enforced by the venue, so without leaving the stage, they dove headfirst into their most popular hit, “Virtual Insanity.” The crowd and the band gave it all they had as 10 pm approached. Amidst a roaring applause, Jay promised they would be back and we couldn’t have been happier.