Jingle Ball a big hit with the younger set

If you were out Christmas shopping Sunday evening near 81st and Lewis and you were wondering what was going on with the crowd at the ORU Mabee Center, it wasn’t a Golden Eagles basketball game. Instead,it was the Jingle Ball hosted by radio station K-Hits 106.9.

To celebrate the start of the Christmas Break for Tulsa area middle and high school students, the station brought in several acts to rock the house.

Acts featured were (in order of appearance): Priscilla Renea, Tulsa’s own Stars Go Dim, Push Play, Kristinia DeBarge, Bowling For Soup, and the show’s headliner, Justin Bieber.  All of the acts brought a different brand of music to the show, most of which can be regularly heard on the radio station that sponsored the event.  Sadly, beyond Bowling For Soup, Stars Go Dim, and the family pedigree that Ms DeBarge hails from, I knew literally nothing of what I was about to see, but I gave it a go nonetheless.

The first act of the show was Priscilla Renea and her’s was the laid-back act of the night.  Her set featured Renea and her piano accompaniment, and hers was a big voice that had a jazzy rasp to it.  The highlight of her set was an awesome acapella version of “Have Yousef a Merry Little Christmas” to close her set.

She gave way to local band Stars Go Dim, who last rocked the house down at the Electric Circus last month.  The band was a little out of the league of those in attendance as their sound was a little older, and I had a little concern that their music would be lost on the kids in the crowd, but they were well received.  For a local band SGD have indeed come full about and it’s clear that we will see great things on a national scale from them, possibly.

Stars Go Dim yielded to Push Play, who brought a pop-punk sound to the arena.  This band was unique as they were closest to the target age group as the oldest member is only 19, I’m told.  The audience was really into their songs as the arena was alight with cell phone screens and glow sticks.  Covering the dance-pop end of the K-Hits play list was Kristinia DeBarge.  For those of us who grew up when Ronald Reagan was president, you will recognize that last name as she comes from the same DeBarge family that brought us “The Rhythm Of The Night” in 1985.  She took the stage with two dancers and a DJ, and tripped through her play list singing her new hit “Goodbye”.

By far the most entertaining act of the night was the Texas-based Bowling For Soup.  Their music is higher energy and guitar based, but it also has a sense of humor.  The song “No Hablo Ingles” had me rolling.  They ended their set with “Really Cool Dance Song”, which is exactly what the band did.  They handed their guitars and drum set over to their roadies who finished the number while they danced in the crowd.  Last but not least, headliner Justin Bieber took the stage amid a roar not unlike what you would have heard some 45 years ago when the Beatles took the stage.  Bieber did a fine job himself, as he truly was a performer beyond his years.  

Alll-in-all, it was a well produced show.  I do give K-Hits high marks for keeping the festivities on an age-appropriate vibe.  This was not a show in which you’d see the likes of Britney Spears in a flesh-toned, cleavage laden leotard doing pole dances.  Far from it.  This was by and large a clean show that was fun.  The trade off was that the reaction from the teen-and tweenie-boppers was ear-splitting.  I dare say the shrill screams emitting from the girls in attendance, particularly at the barest hint of headliner Justin Bieber could give a 747 on a takeoff roll a run for it’s money.


Photos: Kevin Pyle