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Pink, Mandy Moore Show Their School Spirit

By PJ GACH
(October 27, 2000)

Charity show draws Pink, Mandy Moore, BBMak to NYC's Webster Hall

This year's winner of New York's Z100 radio station school spirit contest, Bergen County Academy, landed a "concert to remember" when Mandy Moore, Pink and BBMak performed an exclusive show for its students Tuesday at Webster Hall, the famed East Village venue. The concert and contest, created and sponsored by the station, Cosmo Girl! and Circuit City, was in conjunction with the charity Computers for Kids, a nationwide program that buys and installs computer systems for schools.
The concert hall filled early with students from the Hackensack, New Jersey magnet school. Some looked underage (or was it that they looked their age?), others looked and acted like forty-year-old divorcees. Waiting for the show to begin, they danced and cavorted to trance and mix music -- in high spirits, but well behaved. By the 7 p.m. show time they were ready to really let loose.

Wearing a black tank top, dirty jeans and platforms, first performer Moore bounded onto the stage followed by her four male dancers. She told the audience how much she was happy to be there, and then launched into the love theme, "I Wanna Be With You" from the movie Center Stage. Dancing and singing her way through a forty-minute set, she practiced baby vixen moves, pouts and poses. She mostly sang to pre-recorded tracks, which worked until she sang along to herself in "Candy," the last song of her set -- it was disconcerting to hear her duet with herself during the chorus. But other than that weird moment, Moore was exuberant, sang superbly and seemed to have a great time on stage.

After her set, back came the track music. The kids didn't seem to mind, but something wasn't right. Upstairs in a VIP lounge, BBMak chatted to crew and roving reporters, while Moore signed autographs and posed for pictures. The time was now 8:10 p.m. and more track music was playing. Where was Pink? Why wasn't BBMak on stage singing? It turned out that BBMak and not Pink was ending the show. Finally at 8:45 p.m. Pink came on stage. She apologized for being late, but never explained why she wasn't there to perform at her originally scheduled time.

But onstage her voice was dead on. Though she may only be twenty-one, her voice has a lot of soul and weariness sounding like a mix of Aretha Franklin and any funked up blues singer from the Fifties. During "Stop Falling," she held onto a note for so long, that the audience was holding their breath for her. She moved fine onstage, but her eyes seemed glassy, and she carried herself in a belligerent manner.

Out of the three, BBMak were the ones who got the kids to clap their hands to the music. They chatted and kidded with the audience. Their mind-blowing soundcheck was nothing in comparison to their live set, with both guitars out and a backing track. Mark, Ste and Christian act and dress like typical East Villagers, wearing tees and jeans, nothing fancy, just comfortable clothes. Before the show they wandered around a bit through the venue and were completely anonymous. Onstage, singing their amazing harmonies, they sound and look like choirboys gone bad. And face it, choir boys just don't sing about unrequited love. When they open their mouths and the music flows through, the voices become one soaring, complex fluid instrument. They've got the right touch of cheeky humor and "just us" behavior to win over any tough teenage (and not so teenage) crowd.

After BBMak closed the show with their hit, "Back Here," the lights went on, and the students slowly filed down the stairs, grabbing their goody bags from CosmoGirl! and entered into the yellow school buses that drove them there, turning back from princes and princesses who can command teen pop's top performers to play private concerts to the high school kids that they are.

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