It was nearly a literal ‘Disco Inferno’ at Village People concert

Willis Bergen PAC

Take a police officer, construction worker, army man biker, a Native American and a cowboy and what do you get?

The Village People of course.

On May 19, at Bergen Pac in Englewood, the only member missing was a fireman.  We could have used one.

The show kicked off with original member, lead singer and songwriter of the group’s many hits, Victor Willis. The young man with a big voice back in the 70s who would parlay his talents with the renowned disco producer Jacques Morali. No longer a young man, that big voice is even bigger and more powerful now.

Willis proudly told the audience how his journey began and he is the a member of the real Village People.  His vocals and Morali’s studio genius would create the Village People everyone knows today.

The group was into their third song.  They did an extended version with a heavy pounding disco beat and asked four couples from the audience to come up and join them to do a spotlight dance.  The audience and the couples loved it.

Then, out of nowhere, the smoke alarms went off.  The house lights went up, yet the band and couples continued to dance while the audience joyfully cheered them on.  I have to say I thought it was part of the show.  I was waiting for Willis to say that the couples set the place on fire with their dancing.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t part of the show.  The fire alarms were going off and an announcement came informing the audience to evacuate.

In all the concerts I have ever attended, I have never witnessed anything like this.

NJBPAC ensured the venue was emptied safely and timely.  I must commend them on their actions.  It can’t be easy to evacuate 1,600+ people in under five minutes, but they came through letting everyone know that they were safe while the fire department investigated.

I heard the smoke alarms went off because someone was smoking on the balcony, though I’m not fully sure.

Once the fire department cleared the venue, the audience was let back in and the show continued. It was like nothing had happened and the group didn’t miss a beat.

Singing their hits, “Macho Man,” “Go West,” “In the Navy,” “Hollywood,” “YMCA,” “San Francisco, I Am What I Am,” “In Hollywood” and more, the audience got on their feet and had a great time going down memory lane. There was no opening act and to be quite honest, they didn’t need one.  The people in the Village appeared like the original members of the band and did an excellent job of supporting Willis.

I really had a fun night and I am grateful everyone was safe. If you can, try to catch the Village People as they tour this summer and check out NJBPAC’s concert schedule at for more great upcoming shows.

Learn more about the writer ...

JoAnn Barton | Special to The Observer

Jo-Ann Barton is a singer/songwriter and musician for the past 25+ years who contributes entertainment-related stories to The Observer. Her last CD, 'POP and CIRCUMSTANCES,' spawned a number one hit song at college radio stations throughout the United States, including Hawaii, in 2001. She is the host of the Applause Radio Show, a platform JoAnn brings to an ever-growing audience tuning into listen to their favorite celebrities.