Only Flo Rida gets away with giving out roses at a rap concert. But it goes to show that Microsoft thinks outside the box by getting that one guy that can do it (without coming off as smarmy) to conclude its opening celebration for the new Orlando store with a concert. With the exception of the weather and the long trek from the parking lot, everything is well thought out. A red carpet with a movie premier back drop, lined with event staffers with cameras revs up the anticipation. T-Shirts, backpacks, key chains, and swag bags are given to the lucky attendees as we make our way into the premier viewing area. California Pizza Kitchen is handing out mini pizzas and sandwiches and lots of cold water.
Now rappers are notoriously late and the bad weather layered on another 30 minute delay. By 3:30 the crowd is righteously restless. A Microsoft staffer fearlessly keeps people entertained by giving away Dre Beats headphones, Dell PCs and Xboxes.
3:45 pm Flo Rida’s band takes the stage. Quickly the cheers become a roar. Dressed in True Religion jeans, red Converse and an American flag scarf, Flo Rida bounds onto the stage. Almost every song he performs is or has been a #1 single! The amount of energy he brings to the stage leaves no doubt as to why he’s a multi-platinum artist. He opens with “In the Ayer” getting the crowd to participate; every hand up has a phone hoping to capture exclusive video footage and pictures. The music stops and Flo Rida sits down for a second clearly out of breath. I’m amazed at his energy. He begins to sing a cappella “Where them girls at?” While I’m being carried away by harmonization between Flo and his back-up singers, Flo begins passing out roses to ladies by the stage!
4:15 PM The concert is still going strong and I’m losing my voice from singing every anthem and jumping around. Just when I think this can’t get any better, Flo Rida takes off his shirt and steps down into the crowd. One of his guys throws him up on his shoulders. Talk about strong! Flo Rida is now right in front of me putting his mic in people’s faces to sing. He jumps down and starts moshing with the crowd! All of this is happening right beside me and the crowd is going wild! He gets back on stage and as the song finishes he takes of his red Converse shoes, autographs them and gives them away. We all begin singing “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.
What impresses me the most is Flo Rida’s humbleness and willingness to give back. He ends the concert with a message to “Put God first, always believe and work hard, and never disrespect your parents.” In an age where most music praises, drinking, sex and money, I find it refreshing to see an artist willing to talk about doing “what’s right”.
The select 200 people who attended the Microsoft Store grand opening get to meet Flo Rida. I briskly make my way from the concert to store and find the line. The wait is only about 45 minutes and now I’m 2 people away from meeting Flo Rida. My heart is racing and cameras are going off like a red carpet scene in LA! Flo Rida says “Hey how are you?” and I say “Hi and great show”. That’s it, time for the next person. I am given an autographed picture and make my way out of the store to bask in the greatness of the last 4 hours. Bravo Microsoft Store for pulling in a truly talented individual with morals I can personally respect.