ACL Live Shot: Jovanotti

Zilker Park, Oct. 12

ACL Live Shot: Jovanotti
Photo by Jana Birchum

Italian. English. Spanish. Language mattered little to an adoring crowd of dancing converts as Italian superstar Jovanotti served up a joyous patchwork of funk, hip-hop, and global grooves he slyly dubbed "Italian traditional Afrobeat." Dressed to party in a bright crimson button-up drenched in sweat by set's end and an electric yellow skinny tie to match his rail-thin frame, Jovanotti exuded enough charm and charisma to bridge any language gap. A lightning bolt onstage backed by a percussion-heavy sixpiece band, the fortysomething former teen idol wears his largely American influences on his sleeve. Between originals ("Battiti Di Ali Di Farfalla," "Safari," "Coraggio"), Jovanotti riffed off favorites from Sugarhill Gang ("Rapper's Delight") and Public Enemy ("Bring the Noise") to Michael Jackson ("Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'") and Bob Marley ("Natural Mystic"). Not quite covers, Jovanotti put his own playful (and trilingual) twist on all these numbers. Heck, he even remixed Austin's boastful nickname, calling it the Vatican of music. "I come from Rome, so I can tell you," he joked before closing with a raucous trip to "L'Ombelico del Mondo" – the belly button of the world.

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