2 Chainz, T.I, Lil Wayne
Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
Friday, Aug. 30, 2013
Better than: Sleeping in on a Saturday morning.
The guy to my far left wasn't who I expected to see near the front row of a 2 Chainz show: A preppy dude in salmon pink shorts, a pastel-colored plaid button-down shirt with a green sweater vest over it, and a matching green baseball cap. The whole ensemble was more suitable for Easter brunch. But damn did he love him some 2 Chainz. It looked as though it was his first hip-hop show ever, so he wasn't going to miss a beat, and as far as I could tell, it was this guy who was rockin' out the hardest to 2 Chainz, the opening act for the America's Most Wanted Tour.
Dressed in all white and his token thick gold chains, 2 Chainz walked on the stage promptly at 7:30 p.m., which, in retrospect, wasn't surprising: he decided to use his stage time to promote the holy hell out of his new album, Me Time, which drops Sept. 10. I didn't need to jot that date down -- it was etched in my mind after 2 Chainz had the title and release date flashing behind him onstage nonstop throughout his performance.
I was stoked to hear 2 Chainz songs somewhere other than my car in Oakland -- even if the rest of the folks in my row weren't. Plenty of people were sitting down during his performance, and I even busted one gal yawning as if she was bored in class. But she was the minority. Though 2 Chainz didn't pack the pavilion, he did a decent job at rousing the few who did come to see him, with popular hits like "Birthday Song" and "I'm Different" -- which, by the way, was translated into several different languages on screen ("Soy Diferente"). By that point, the crowd had its two fingers waving in the air. It was a new twist on the peace sign, one that also came with a strong waft of marijuana.
After a quick beer break, T.I. took the stage wearing a black suit, strutting around as if he was Marvin Gaye from Motown, not T.I from Atlanta. He started things out slow with his 2009 song "Life's Ups and Downs," but that downer didn't last long as he announced he was going to give the ladies "something they could dance to" and immediately broke into the summer anthem "Blurred Lines." It was then that he stripped down to his wife beater and black sunglasses, an ensemble accessorized with a lot of nut-grabbing. Overall, his stage performance was at times disjointed, but still far more entertaining than 2 Chainz (he had a full band that sounded better than 2 Chainz's DJ). He also seemed to understand he was there to show everyone a good time, because ultimately, that's what sells records.
But the moment Lil Wayne walked on stage, it seemed that all previous artists were forgotten. The crowd had significantly filled out to see the America's Most Wanted headliner, and a few songs into his show, people were passing back their tickets to let their friends and whoever else get up front to experience Lil Wayne's wacky bursts of energy accompanied by a full band and DJ.
He brought 2 Chainz back out on stage early in the show for "Days and Days" and "Bandz A Make Her Dance," both of which riled fans. But in between his sex-obsessed lyrics and "personal questions," Lil Wayne made a point several times in the night let the audience know how much he appreciated every single one of them, that tomorrow isn't promised, and he appreciates that we chose to spend the evening with him. Finally, he demanded that we "make noise for yourself, because you're fucking beautiful."
Now Lil Wayne made it clear through the night that he "loves pussy" so much so that he's gotten himself into bad situations. Before bringing out a group of scantily dressed girls, he gave us a disclaimer that he no longer gets to pick who can bring up on stage -- and for good reason. "I pick 15 and 16-year-old girls, and they come up here and take their clothes off," he says, adding that he had no idea how young these girls were. Then he squarely placed the blame on the parents "You need to raise your kids right," he says. The crowd cheered in total agreement.
Now back to Lil Wayne loving pussy. After all this, he invited T.I back on stage for songs like "Ball," where he playfully explains how to "pop that pussy like a gun pull the trigger ... I throw that dick like darts ... can a nigga stick his key up in your back door?"
By the end of the show, nobody seemed done yet. It's hard not to feed off Lil Wayne's energy, and that's what makes him a powerful performer. But the night ended, and as Weezy hopped on his skateboard to roll around the onstage skate ramps, he left us with his final thoughts:
"No. 1 is that I believe in God. No. 2 is I ain't shit without you. The most important one is No. 3, which is I ain't shit without you."