Upon arriving at Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood for Lil Wayne’s “I Am Still Music Tour,” I was greeted by light rain showers that eventually developed into pouring rain and thunderstorms. Surprisingly, the inclement weather didn’t deter concert goers at this partially-covered, outdoor venue. Initially, I thought I had reached the wrong arena because all I could see were big trucks, beer kegs, white college-aged students, and Confederate flags and heard noisy engines everywhere. I thought perhaps I arrived at a Monster Truck rally of some sort. I coasted up to the grassy parking area where I witnessed price gouging at its finest $20-40. At this particular venue, you have one of two choices: pay more to stay dry or less to get wet. Needless to say, I trudged and tip-toed, the longer distance, in my stilettos to the box office.
Keri Hilson’s performance was definitely worth the mud on my heels. The sexy songstress and her backup dancer were “pinktacular,” performing in pink coveralls and dark-colored bandannas. In a pre-concert interview, the rocking pretty girl shared with music and sports director Amir Shaw how she prepared for the show, “It’s a month of work. We have about two or three weeks of preparation and rehearsal. Sometimes there are dancer auditions. We have to figure out concepts and wardrobe. It takes proper preparation. My concept on stage is an extension of my album concept.”
Next up, Rick Ross’ appearance onstage was highly anticipated as fans yelled his name; that famous Rozay one-liner, “Aughh, ringed through the speakers. Everyone went wild. He was rocking a plain white tee, a large gold chain, denim jeans and red-framed sunglasses complemented by a red and black jeweled bracelet. Rick Ross is a presence to take notice of as he commands the stage and puppet masters the audience. His lyrics ooze from his lips like the Gospel. “I’m selling dope straight off the I phone/he want a quote/I’m talking 9 zones, distribution Mexican I’m still sinning.”
He wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by his Maybach Music squad: Wale, Yo Gotti and Mac Milli. The camaraderie on that stage could not be dismissed. Each of the artists’ vibed with the audience and delivered. Rick Ross and the Maybach Music Group closed their portion of the show with “Thank yous” to the fans and supporters.
During intermission and just before Lil Wayne’s set, the crowd was anxious and intense. Concert goers could hardly stay in their seats. Within earshot was a young boy, no older than age 11 or 12, in the audience rapping every Lil’ Wayne song, beckoning him to come out.
It worked! Lil’ Wayne entrée was preceded by fireworks. He was sporting a peach-colored summer surf-styled tank top and multi-striped socks, reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. The face of his baseball cap’s crown was most unforgettable; it displayed an airbrushed image of a woman’s mouth. Weezy greeted and continuously thanked his fans. He rocked the mic, showcasing his many talents in terms of musical stylings. He gave us old school Wayne, Hot Boyz Wayne, Rock star Wayne and lover boy Wayne – all neatly packaged for delivery.
With each lyric, he commanded the crowd’s attention. It was a litany of sorts as he participated in light banter with the audience. The beautiful, provocative dancers of every ethnicity certainly didn’t hurt his captivating performance. He brought along a few members of his crew including Shanell and Mack Maine.
These two artists: Rick Ross and Lil Wayne will have a following for eons to come as they have mastered the art of commanding the audience attention and keeping it. –brandi hart
Photos by Joi Pearson Photography for Steed Media Service.