While Nick Lucchesi, my partner in crime at Saturday’s Lil Wayne hoe-down at the Chaifetz Arena, already provided a thorough recap of the night’s events, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to offer my own two cents about the performance by Dwayne Carter.
In short, it was good but not great.
What ultimately defined the show was a crowd that was absolutely in love with Weezy. Take a look at our slideshow of the fans—they ran the gamut from middle-aged men from the hood to suburban teenage girls. It was a true testament to his sweeping popularity and status as the hottest emcee in the game.
The amazing thing was that he had them wrapped around his finger like one of his many diamond-encrusted rings: I truly believe the man could have dropped trou and taken a dump on stage and the audience would have gone wild. It’s a shame, really, because such blind enthusiasm sets the bar pretty damn low when it comes to the actual performance, and in that regard Wayne was often lacking.
In terms of stage presence, he was nearly upstaged by Nelly, Murphy Lee and the St. Lunatics, who worked the panoramic stage like upstaged stars desperate to defend their home turf. Wayne, meanwhile, despite having a Wu-Tang’s worth of people milling around on stage with him, was left virtually alone to work the crowd that encircled him.
Part of the problem wasn’t his fault; the floor should have been general admission. The seats around the stage were a huge clusterfuck that kept any kind of large-scale dance floor (which was desperately needed) from forming.
When people are paying upwards of $200 a ticket, however, something pretty incredible had better happen on stage. For that kind of money the expectation is a hip-hop production, not a concert (see Kanye’s “Glow In the Dark” tour for a textbook example). Really, the most showmanship Wayne produced was the pathetic guitar plucking he did “Leather So Soft” which did little more than prove his finger-pickin’ skills are a far cry from those of Andre 3000.
Don’t get me wrong, on the whole the show was good. No one got shot, the atmosphere when Wayne took the stage was downright electric and the setlist left nothing to be desired, especially after the Birdman took the stage for “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” (a personal favorite) and “Pop Bottles.”
But while I doubt anyone went home unhappy with Mr. Carter’s performance, to me it proved Weezy Baby has a long way to before he’s mentioned in the same breath as Pac, Biggie, and Jay-Z.