LYNN — Paula Abdul, who may be known more for her stint on American Idol these days than her music career, put on a unique concert at the Lynn Auditorium on Sunday night.
The stop was part of the singer’s “Straight Up Paula!” tour, her first solo tour in 28 years, which featured performances of a catalogue of her hits, including six chart-topping singles, from the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Some may call the concert strange as an energetic Abdul not only performed her songs in various sparkly dresses and leotards, but they were sprinkled into what could be characterized as a play about her life, like supporting features of her story.
Abdul, 56, acted out how she got her first big break as a Los Angeles Lakers girl following initial rejection, which led to her becoming the team’s head cheerleader and choreographer; explained how her Grammy-award winning “Opposites Attract” music video featuring the animated MC Skat Kat and inspired by Gene Kelly led to her meeting the actor; and spent part of the show in bed while wearing pajamas.
One of the more surreal aspects of the show came as Abdul crawled on stage, while her dancers maneuvered a glow-in-the-dark “baby” to crawl on her back. This sequence, which also featured the singer talking to the “baby” followed Abdul telling the audience about how being born premature led to breathing and health problems as a child.
Although strange, the concert proved entertaining. Abdul got plenty of laughs when she showed video highlights of her love/hate relationship with fellow judge Simon Cowell during their time on American Idol. Another popular part of the show was when certain audience members were pulled on stage to compete for who could perform the best 1980s dance move.
Perhaps known as much for her dancing, Abdul moved well, especially considering her opening up to the crowd about the chronic pain she experiences. The former So You Think You Can Dance judge dealt with a crushed cervical spine early in her career and has had multiple spinal cord surgeries.
The best music moments came at the tail end of the show. Most of the crowd was on its feet as Abdul performed “Straight Up” and “Forever Your Girl,” former No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and two of her most popular songs that she saved to close the concert. Other crowd favorites included former No. 1 hits, “Rush Rush,” “The Promise of a New Day,” and “Opposites Attract.”