Still Glowing in the Dark.

Alright, everyone else did one, so here it is: the official frankie5.0 GITD tour review.

We got to the venue at around 5:00 and both noticed it felt a little weird, it felt really early but we beat the lines and only waited about an hour before the first act took the stage. First up was Lupe, which I already had a problem with. See, the opening act time got pushed up by an hour so Lu started his set at 6:00 in the afternoon, still daylight out - to a half empty arena; crazy disrespectful to my man. Although I read reviews and knew he opened, I was still a little upset. I personally thought the order should go something like Rhianna opening with N.E.R.D. to follow then Lupe then Kanye batting clean up. Lu being arguably my favorite emcee, he didn’t need the flashing lights that everyone else had. He held it down, just him, bishop G, Nikki Jean and a black curtain. Anywho, he came out to some 'OH FORTUNA' style epic chanting; it was awesome. As I said, Bishop G came out on a few songs which was cool to see. They ran through “Little Weapon” with Nikki Jean who also came out for “Hip Hop Saved My Life”! It's cool that Lu is putting on all these acts, bringing them around the country with him. I was quite disappointed that Matt Santos didn't come out for Superstar, or at all. I know he was on the west coast wing of the tour so I kind of just expected him to be there; maybe he was actually working on a solo career? ha! While on the topic of Matt, I might also add that "Fighters" was not a part of Lu's set list which was a little disappointing. Other than that, Lupe’s set was the typical set list that went something like "The Coolest", "Kick Push", "I Gotcha", "Go Go Gadget Flow", "Superstar", "Little Weapon
", "Streets On Fire", and closed it out with the hypest version of "Daydreamin'" I have ever heard. I wish I had video of Lu and Bishop G jumping around on stage together. Other than that, there was nothing too out of the ordinary except the version of "The Coolest" that Lu opened with was actually a house remix of the original, it sounded really intense. My highlight was “I Gotcha”. I just can’t help from nodding my head when that came on. I also loved when they performed “Go, Go, Gadget Flow”, the beat got everyone bouncing and they even stopped the track during the chorus while the crowd sang “Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go gadget flow.” Out of the 50 call and responses throughout the show, this was my favorite.

Next up was N.E.R.D. They came out with two drummers, a guitarist and bass player and Chad on the keys and tables with P and Shay on singing duties. I originally wasn’t expecting this to be anything special, but I read some reviews that said N.E.R.D set it off, so I got really hyped but...and it didn’t deserve the rants and raves it got. George put it best - It seemed like some kids got a hold of their equipment and were warming up the crowd before N.E.R.D. came out; it was total low energy and something was wrong with P's voice...They ran through their set list performing all of their hits which is great for me because those are the ones I like the most whereas most other artists I tend to like the lesser known songs which don’t usually get played during concerts. “Rock Star” was dope, “Lap dance” was dope, “Everybody Nose” was banging, probably the best of their set. I was surprised to see a good number of the crowd do call and response with most of their songs; N.E.R.D was never really mainstream commercial darlings or anything. They ended their set with the lick from The White Stripes' "Seven nation army" and the call line from "Everybody Nose" - "ALL THE GIRLS STANDING IN THE LINE FOR THE BATHROOM" over it. very hype. They also threw out some bagged t-shirts; the packagings lead me to believe that they were not tour shirts but probably BBC/IC shirts...sweet.

After N.E.R.D was Rhianna which I spent quite a bit of the time watching while sitting down texting friends who couldn’t make it and making fun of people with George. She wasn’t on for too long though. She performed songs; some fast, some slow and some not hers! Easily my Rhianna moment of the night was when the synth for M.I.A's "Paper Planes" kicked in and she delighted the oblivious crowd the first verse, chorus, and bridge. I was so hyped! I jumped out of my seat and made the proper pistol hand gestures and everything! I was of proud of her. I was also delighted at the "mamasay mamasa mamakusa" part of "Don't Stop the Music."

Finally, Kanye took the stage after what seemed to be an hour of stage set up. When I finally saw the stage, it was well worth the wait. It was the mountain landscape I expected but what caught me off guard was the moving platform in the middle which could also display video right under Ye's feet. The entire back of the stage was one long screen for video and or effects. Kanye even had a band but they were stuffed, orchestra style, backstage so as to take no limelight away from the man of the night. Even Ye’s DJ, A-Trak, was crammed back there. The cool thing about Kanye’s performance was that he controlled the whole stage by himself the entire time...with the exception of one song...

This was what the crowd was waiting for and you could tell by their response to every and anything Kanye did. Every little nuance got a response. Kanye could blink his eyes and if you could see it on the big screens, the crowd would go ape shit. Kanye ran through his set with songs you would expect. I was really stoked but didn't have my first “Ohhhhh!” moment until Ye's spaceship, Jane, reminded him that the crash she had just undergone wasn't his first - cue “Through The Wire”! It was so perfect. His set included "Good Morning", “All Falls Down”, “Spaceship”, “Flashing Lights”, "Jesus Walks", “Hey Mama” (yes, Ye and I both teared up), “Heard Em Say”, "Champion", "Get Em High", "Diamonds From Sierra Leone", "I Wonder", "Good Life", "Can't Tell Me Nothing", "Flashing Lights", and just a few more I can't recall at the moment. Ye’s set had a running theme in that he was a space traveler searching the universe for inspiration because Earth was all dried up. Throughout the set, the giant, colorful, flashing mother-board of his spaceship, the embodiment of "Jane", was lowered on stage and Ye would talk to her and try to get them back home safe. I know, it sounds corny but believe me, it was clever and really well executed. I was most excited when Kanye was talking to Jane about how he has been on his journey and traveling for so long, he needs some female companionship, the ship tried to offer some romantic comfort when Kanye quickly responded with "you're nothing but a stupid broken spaceship..." The giant screens go blank and what sounds to be a chopped and screwed version of Jaime Fox's opening lines of "Gold Digger" kick in, with a giant flash of light all that could be seen was an easily twenty foot tall hologram (presumably shot by Hype Williams) of a scantly clad dressed, quite voluptuous lady, covered head to toe in gold leaf, dancing to the beat. Turns out - Jane is in fact pretty hot.

As the show is coming to an end, Yeezy makes it back home; his ship being powered by his own celebrity or something to that accord and the smoke machine kicks in and Kanye vanishes. He comes back out on stage, this time not rocking the tan and red neo-star trek vest and arm band, but a pair of skinny jeans and a light leather jacket - fresh. He starts the first of several encores with the line "IT FEELS GOOD TO BE HOME" which most understood to be the catch phrase from "Touch the sky." The song is well on its way and then I saw something come over the crowd, as if we all realized it at the same time -- Lupe's verse was coming up...I had read in reviews that Kanye had no guest appearances on stage with him so I assumed he would cut the song short and call it a night...but before I could even react, a fresh cool young Lu jumps up from the mountainous terrain with "Yes, yes, yes guess who's on third?" I went...nuts. Not to mention he was rocking the illest oversized scarf I have ever seen, shemagh style. After his verse, Lu hoped off stage and Ye finished the song and everything went black again and stayed that way for a solid 20 seconds; I knew he was still there because if you looked closely you could see Kanye's Air Yeezys glowing in the dark on stage. He tricked us all again; in keeping the spirit of finally being home from a long journey, the words "I'm coming home again..." rang out through the crowd and Ye ended his flawless set with "Homecoming”.

On the way out, we were presented with a complimentary copy of Kanye's book, "Thank you, and You're Welcome", which kept me busy during the half hour of traffic we were presented with upon leaving the arena.

Something just hit me-- Radiohead is in town for their show in Tampa tonight, so Thome York was probably hanging around Tampa during the GITD show; so not only could Lu, P, and Ye do a Child Rebel Soldier song for us, they could have performed the BEST possible "Us Placers" in Tampa! but there was no CRS to be heard...eh...either way it was a good performance, good show, so good night.


Blogger TURK said...

Well said frank. I wish I could've been there and now I feel like I could visualize it. Quite an experience it seems. Baby bay-buh!

1:52 AM  

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