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Disco lives at Cafaro Field



Published: Sun, June 10, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The disco concert carried Valley residents back to their favorite '70s moments.

By ASHLEY POWERS

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

NILES -- The car slammed to a screeching halt, and Phyllis Hugley scampered across the pavement before the song reached its hook.

"The get down, get down" intoned a voice, beckoning her to shake her hips. So, swept away with the excitement of graduating from Warren Western Reserve and the freedom that awaited her during the summer of 1974, Hugley did just that.

She bumped, knocking hips with her friends in the middle of the street, carefree in her youth.

Three children and four grandchildren later, the song, "Jungle Boogie" still transports her. So when Hugley learned Kool & amp; the Gang would be at Cafaro Field Saturday night, the 45-year-old Warren resident positioned herself on a back corner of the dance floor, ready to bump and grind again.

Disco comes alive: Judging from the mass hustling near Hugley, the days of disco are still fresh in the minds of many. Bridging the gap between the make-love-not-war '60s and the glam-rock of the '80s, disco still ignites fond recollections for those enamored with its calls to look for some hot stuff or "ring my bell."

The latter song moved Hugley's best friend, Fay Owenes, 56, of Warren, to relive her days at Yums Yums, a local disco.

"The only thing different is that I am a lot older. I am still a teenager at heart," said Owenes, breathing heavily after exiting the dance floor in a black mesh shirt.

Waiting anxiously by the field entrance, Terrie Smith, a 51-year-old former cocktail waitress of the disco bar Buster's Lounge, had propped an afro wig the color of coal and the size of a beach ball atop her head, complementing her glittering gold shirt and black pants. Smith, who lives in Austintown, said little has changed since the original days of disco, except "I would have been wearing something a little slinkier."

Fashion statements: Fashion was used by many to reconstruct the era. Twenty-year-old Heather Reitz of Niles had to coax Scott Miranda, 21, of Niles, into dressing the part, though it was Miranda that brainstormed the pair's tie-dye shirts himself. By the time they took their seats near one of two screens sandwiching the stage, Reitz was displaying red bell bottoms and a fake fairy tattoo.

Miranda sported a black afro wig and costume gold jewelry.

"We can't dance," Miranda said sheepishly. "Maybe that is why we are in disguise."

His head swirled around. "Now this guy," Miranda said, pointing to a mullet-topped man in skin-tight brown leather pants and platforms, "kept his original hairdo. I guess disco isn't dead."

Stayin' alive: The time of Gloria Gaynor and "Saturday Night Fever" was indeed alive with Barb Shomo, 44, of Cortland, and her two daughters, Michelle, 21, of Girard, and Jessica, 25, of Youngstown. As Shomo lauded the concert for bringing back memories, Jessica, barely out of diapers at the end of the disco era, interrupted.

"I just remember the bell bottoms," she said, grimacing. "Cause you made me wear them."

The three laughed, promising to take the dance floor by the time The Village People broke into their crowd-pleasing cheer with hand signals: "Y-M-C-A."

But as the Austin Powers look-alike singer of the local band Disco Explosion started singing, the tables near the stage cleared of people. Those not old enough to drink in 1974 grasped their plastic cups of beer as they bumped hips with regulars of the original discotheques.

As the singer pleaded "give it to me baby," the cheering crowd obliged.

Because last night at Cafaro Field, that's the way -- uh huh, uh huh -- they liked it.




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