Saturday, September 11, 2004
I thought that maybe going to a concert where I had worked on the setup would make me appreciate it more or give me a different perspective or something. But not really. During the show, I wasn't really thinking at all about how I had helped set up the stage that Fat Joe was standing on, or about how the whole audience was standing on tarps that I had helped roll out and tape down the night before (the tarps smelled absolutely horrible when we unravelled them, any moisture that gets trapped in them when they're rolled up causes mold, and who knows what else was on them. One of the usual Towson Center crew guys was telling me about how when Three 6 Mafia played there in March, someone in the audience got stabbed in the face and there was blood everywhere.)
It's always weird to hear a rapper's voice on records for a while before seeing what they look like, so I was curious what the Bossman would look like, but he's just a chubby dude with cornrows. He had his N.E.K. crew onstage with him and did his two big local hits, "I Did It" (which was the #1 most requested song on 92Q the day of the show), and "Baltimore" (the "oh!" song), and on that one they kept switching the beat, doing the 2nd verse over the beat from a Tim Trees song, then the 3rd verse over the "Knuck If You Buck" beat. He had one song that sounded kind of southern, and another one that was pretty much a Bmore club beat with rapping over it, which is never as cool as it should be.
Shawnna was pretty much the best performer of the whole night, in terms of rapping clearly and consistently and working the crowd and not needing half a dozen other people onstage saying every other line in unison, although she did have one female hypeman (or hypewoman, I guess), which I thought was kind of cool. She did "Posted" and her verses from "Dude" and "P Poppin'" and her next single, "Weight A Minute", which is produced by Trackboyz and was pretty good. "RPM" was the best song on the DTP album and I'm glad it's going to be on her album now too, when she hit those really fast bits on the verses the crowd would like ROAR. "Shake That Shit" was a little anti-climactic after that.
Also, Shawnna delivered the quote of the night: "I love this rap shit, this shit makes my dick hard". The audience seemed to be as a whole to be very confused as to how to respond to that.
Ciara and Nina Sky both only did about 15 minutes each, which was good since people pretty much wanted to hear their respective hits and then get them out of the way. Actually, pretty much every act except the last 2 played for less than 20 minutes. It was a pretty tight show, not a lot of time between sets and they got 6 acts on and offstage in the space of 3 hours. That's like a punk show. I hate "Goodies" but the Jazze Pha stuff was a little better. Ciara's dancing looks very odd to me, I don't understand it. The best part of Nina Sky's set was when they did "Move Ya Body" and their white DJ did the Jabba parts with a very half-assed fake Jamaican accent.
Fat Joe got the biggest response of the night, I think a lot of people weren't gonna go to the concert until he was added to the bill. I mean, I personally like Twista more than anyone else on the bill, but he doesn't have a hit like "Lean Back" now. Joe did all his hits plus "Twinz" and some other Big Pun classics that he wasn't even ever on. The biggest disappointment of the night was that Remy Ma was a no show. I missed her on "Yeah Yeah Yeah" especially. They did a few more songs after "Lean Back" and then closed with the Lil Jon remix. The crowd went pretty nuts. It was kind of cool to see someone do their big hit less than 2 weeks after doing it at the VMA's. I kind of built up my tolerance for hearing "Lean Back" one more time for this show. I'm still not really sick of it, amazingly. And the rockaway really is the perfect move for that kind of show, it's too crowded for any real dancing.
There was a guy onstage whose sole purpose for being up there seemed to be to walk around with a towel and wiping the sweat off of Fat Joe and the rest of TS. After the concert when I was cleaning up, I found a towel on the floor and wondered if it was maybe the Fat Joe Sweat Towel, and decided that either way it was in my best interests not to touch it.
Jadakiss did a pretty thorough run through his catalog, guest verses and remixes and Lox classics (for a crowd full of college freshmen who were 11 when "Money, Power, Respect" came out). I liked how he segued from "Time's Up" into "The Champ Is Here", and there's probably no song I love to hear on a huge soundsystem more than "We Gonna Make It" (although it was cooler when I saw Kanye at UMBC back in April and he had Miri Ben-Ari do a mini-set of violin over hip hop songs and "We Gonna Make It" sounded amazing). He closed with "Why" and did his verse from the remix a cappella at the end, which was pretty cool.
After the show, I went and got some Taco Bell, then came back to the venue and worked til 3a.m. breaking everything down.