You thought the hottest Halloween party this year was down on South Beach, right? Try noon at the American Airlines Arena, when Yo Gabba Gabba Live enchanted hundreds of toddlers and their equally amused parents. The Nick Jr. show, which has gained a cult audience on YouTube, conducted an age-appropriate, audio/visual onslaught, bringing confetti, bubbles, balloons, the Gabba gang, Biz Markie, and some very special guests. Barney on Ice, this wasn't. (For the full Yo Gabba Gabba slideshow, click here.)
Upon arrival, the arena floor was abuzz with anticipation for the
show. Little DJ Lance Rocks were barely able to contain themselves (though
this could easily had been a side effect of all the juice-boxes and
Halloween candy floating around). When the lights went down and the Kia
Sorento sponsored stage began to light up, all of that pre-K frenetic
energy became a singularly focused beam, ready to consume all things
And the Gabba Gang didn't disappoint.
DJ Lance Rock, Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee, and Plex started the show with high energy and never let it die down, each individual character introduced with their own special dance. Dancing was the common thread throughout the afternoon's proceedings. The characters did it, the children did it, the parents did it, and yes, even we couldn't help but get down with the moves. The pure, sincere, joy that Gabba manifests immediately penetrated our self-consciousness about being the only twenty-somethings at the show suspiciously sans children.
When it came time to learn the Peanut Butter Stomp, you better believe we stomped with everything we had. (Apparently at the following 4 p.m. show, none other than Miami's own Panic Bomber was one of the Gabba Gang's Dance Time friends).
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Speaking of special guests, the Brazilian Girls, fresh off their show with Swedish House Mafia, rocked out much to the pleasure of the alt-moms and dads who filled the arena. The tech crew did a marvelous job at keeping the sound at a reasonable level so none of the children would get startled by the Girls' catchy melody. That said, we have to wonder if their raunchy anthem "Pussy" was an appropriate choice for the young crowd (just kidding, they played the age-appropriate and get-stuck-in-your-head crowd pleaser "Good Time").
However, no guest was a bigger hit with the parents than Biz Markie. The arena rumbled with joy when Biz took the stage for Biz's Beat of the Day. Some parents couldn't even contain themselves from shouting out their favorite verses of "Just a Friend." Biz allowed a dozen or so kids to come up on stage and sit on his lap and try to imitate a beat, transforming the spectacle into a sort of hip-hop mall Santa afternoon.
Behind the amazing music,silly dances and bright colors, Yo Gabba Gabba was here to educate as well as entertain. They preached tolerance in "All My Friends Are Different," bravery and self confidence in "Don't be Afraid of the Dark," and that hugs are fun with their song, titled, um, "Hugs Are Fun."
A handful of the toddlers that filled the American Airlines Arena began to cry when the lights came up and DJ Lance Rock and the Gabba Gang had to go. We understood their grief, not a little upset that the best preschool rave we ever attended had to end. As we snaked through the crowd and by the merch booths and Kia Sorrentos we found ourselves in a post show daze, heightened by Yo Gabba Gabba's message of beats, dancing and friendship. Maybe it was the sugar crash from the Halloween candy, but we found ourselves filled with the slightest hint of melancholy as we trekked back to our car on the other side of Biscayne for the lack of Gabba in our lives when we were kids. We went to cover Yo Gabba Gabba, but ultimately, Yo Gabba Gabba covered us.