Black Eyed Peas
With Cee Lo Green, T-Pain, Jason Derulo, and Sean Kingston
Sun Life Stadium
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Better Than: A nice nap on the beach that ends in a blistering burn.
In the history of final live performances by outrageously popular bands, last night's Black Eyed Peas show stands out for an unusual reason. The group's time onstage outlasted the audience's interest in them.
Yes, the audience stayed through all the songs. But the band could not (and would not) discontinue babbling and just let everyone go home and remember them fondly.
A six-hour concert isn't fun. It's like spending a full day in elementary school.
You know how to save a BEP concert that goes on too long? Well, Cee Lo did. He pulled through with a short, sweet set and brought out the best surprise of the whole night: Trick Daddy, Goodie Mob, and -- Lord have mercy! -- Queen Latifah. When she walked onstage to introduce Cee Lo, it was like all motor functions were lost, limbs went limp, peripheral vision failed. There was only one ruler in that stadium when she was on that stage.
But let's start at the beginning ... At around 6 p.m., a barely audible white dude named Jordan Hollywood in a white cap and a jean vest performed one song. The DJ continued to ask us to "Make some noise for Sean Kingston!" Who kept not appearing. Then local-yokel-with-a-nice-big-smile Sean Kingston finally came out and requested, time and again, that we put our hands in the air. He gave it up for the single ladies and Haitians.
The crowd trickled in, comprised mostly of Brazilians, kids, and Brazilians with kids. It was like a nightclub for babies.
Next up was T-Pain. How come nobody told us T-Pain can sing and dance? Dude killed it up there. With no Auto-Tune, he offered up something like a gospel vaudeville act. He was silly and cute, sliding around the stage, even twirling at one point. The tweens in the crowd copied his choreographed moves. The Tallahassee boy's set was a little lengthy, but a total pleasure.
While T-Pain was all goofily delicious, Jason Derulo was all serious and sexual. He was only up there briefly. But he managed to make up for any shortcomings by being muscle-y and sweaty, and eventually topless. A few female dancers were onstage, all jamming on him, and he didn't respond in a way that was hypersexual. The show was about him and his muscles, not a horny dance. His family was in attendance.
Now, back to Queen Latifah. If you've never seen Last Holiday, please go watch it immediately. Good. Now that you're back, you understand why she is the queen. The bodacious diva came out onstage for a minute and due to shock and the crowd's hysteria, we didn't hear much of what she said. Basically, she introduced Cee Lo, with whom she apparently she goes way, way, way back. She asked us to make some noise and we complied with her royal decree.
Cee Lo came out in a peach track suit like an emperor ready for bed. Not yet over the Latifah surprise, jaws dropped when Trick Daddy popped up for a "Dro in Da Wind" duet. When was the last time any of you saw Trick onstage? It was probably the '90s still. Trick loves the kids and the kids who know Trick love Trick. Next, Cee Lo brought out Goodie Mob, bringing ATL to MIA. Latifah also came out and performed a short song. 'Twas musical madness.
The Queen returned to introduce the Black Eyed Peas, telling the audience to loosen up. The Black Eyed Peas brought smoke and lights and fancy speaker people/robot dancers to the stage. Apl.de.ap looked like Blade if he mated with a disco ball. The rest of them were all Mad Max-ed out.
Fergie looked good and sounded better. The BEP actually do sound album perfect. But Fergie really showed off her vocals during "Meet Me Halfway." They, as a group, speak like a self-help tribe who lack any real intimacy with each other. They have a strange dynamic.
It's important to acknowledge that Will.i.am basically monopolized the whole affair. That man does not know how to stay silent. During his solo song, lit all in green, it was like we were all worshiping this weird, little, egomaniacal, nonsensical man. His strength is not the content of his flow, but the fact that he doesn't have to breathe for minutes on end. He just spits. That somehow indicates a deal with the devil.
By the time the Black Eyed Peas performed "Don't Stop the Party," the party had been started and wasn't going to stop soon. Fergie was showing off her lady lumps and walking sexy. During an extended medley, they projected a closeup of her giant boobs on the big screen. It was very playful and even kinda kid-friendly. Next, for "Glamourous" and "Big Girls," Fergie rose form the depths of the stage in a pink dress. She really is the best thing about this band.
Will.i.am did a DJ set alone on a raised platform where he was like the MC to his own music and a ton of other songs we've heard ten billion times on the radio and continue to not enjoy. The highlights: Usher's "OMG," MJ's "Thriller," and Blur's "Song 2." The key to why the BEPs are so popular is they take popular songs, overplayed tunes that have received endless radio play, ones children and old folks know, and reference them endlessly. This is also what makes them uncool.
During "Pump It," the Peas brought out some instruments and Will.i.am freestyled, describing the things he saw, including "Brazilians everywhere." And before "Where Is the Love," he gave a somewhat touching speech. Then Taboo brought out his mother and gave a genuinely touching talk and motivational lecture. After he left, the other three were raised on dangerously slim pedestals over the audience and continued to chat endlessly. Apl.de.ap tried to raise money to open a school in the Philippines. His song started, "You can be a doctor..." and even included the line, "You can be a hero, don't have to be a zero." He sounded like a mom.
There was about a good 45 minutes more of goodbyes and a few songs. Then Will thanked the band and they in turn kissed his ass. It wasn't very emotional. They ended the show with "I've Gotta Feeling," balloons, confetti, and smoke. That was it for the crowd, they filed out as the whole crew came out for a group shot and the band continued to chatter.
Well, that's it for the Black Eyed Peas. All there is left to say to them is mazel tov!
The Crowd: Children and foreigners.
Personal Bias: Not sad it's over.
Black Eyed Peas' Setlist
-"Rock That Body"
-"Just Can't Get Enough"
-"Don't Stop the Party"
-Medley: "Don't Phunk," "My Humps," "Shut Up," "Joints Jam"
-Will.i.am DJ set
-"Where Is the Love"
-"We Can Be Anything"
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-"Boom Boom Pow"
-"I Gotta Feeling"