On Friday, October 24th Philadelphia’s Power 97 (or something like that) had their annual Power Jam concert at the Wachovia Center (clearly a name change is in the works). I am well aware a similar show is coming to the Izod Center, which is 10 minutes from my house, on Tuesday, but I was so fired up to hear about a Jay-Z show coming around that I immediately bought tickets even though it would entail traveling to the worst city in North America. Luckily the common Philly trash did not disrupt the show by acting like the ignorant lummoxes we all know they are. Nobody started chants about their embarrassing sports teams, started yelling about Rocky or stabbed a guy to look like a bad ass on their street DVD...so in that respect it was a good night for the people of the City of Brotherly Love.
I went to the show with my friend Don, we met close to two years ago and quickly bonded over a mutual love of hip-hop and a mutual hatred of buffoonery. Don was nice enough to drive in exchange for a ride to Philly the next time we have to visit that festering cesspool of a city.
The events of the actual concert are as follows:
Keisha Cole: From what I understand Keisha Cole is one hell of a singer, however I wouldn’t have guessed it from her performance because it entailed excessive amounts of waving the mic at the crowd for us to sing her lyrics, she probably sang 25 lines total over the course of a 30 min. show. I paid close to a hundred dollars for these tickets and I don’t want to sing YOUR songs, I want to sit down like a gentleman and be entertained, apparently that is too much to ask. I am not too familiar with her entire catalog, but she has a lot of songs about letting things go, in fact I think that line is in close to all of her songs. I estimate that in 30 min. she let go of 50 or 60 items, including: her triflin’ man, her painful past, her messed up family and her weave. There was no mention of her dress, which was clearly about to “let go” of her boobs. It was a little strapless number that was clearly made for a 12 year old and not what she had going on. At the conclusion of her performance she reminded the crowd to tune-in to her BET reality show, so you could watch her “let go” of even more stuff from the comfort of your own home.
T-Pain: This man is a buffoon! He danced around to other people’s songs, sang into the computer, did a freestyle that kinda dissed Roger Troutman (this is foul on two counts: first, he’s dead and second, he originated the Auto-Tune sound...youtube “Computer Love” and get familiar). He rapped/sang/yelled about having money and strippers and how he is the “ring leader of the industry” seemingly oblivious to the fact that he’s not even the “ring leader” of his own label (Akon’s his boss). The crowd of Philly trash ate this up, I was pretty indifferent and Don was enraged about the level of buffoonery he just witnessed, luckily the next act calmed him down.
Ne-Yo: The Gentleman put on a great show: awesome three piece suit, great songs, really good band and back-up dancers and expert song selection and pacing. The only way this performance could have been better is if he took off his suit jacket and was wearing Young Berg’s Transformer chain.
Jay-Z/TI/Ludacris: After a lengthy break that involved listening to most of the “Sweat” half of Nelly’s “Sweat Suit” album and the new Coldplay song twice, Jay Hova came out and he did not disappoint! This is the third time I have seen the Jay this year and the show doesn’t change much, but it’s so close to perfection that it’s hard to complain. He went through a lot of the American Gangster album and a few older classics before he got to “What More Can I Say?” as he got to the end of the first verse he said “Bring ‘em out, Bring ‘em out!” and TI rushed the stage to perform his hit of the same name.
TI came out bundled up like he was walking from Geno’s to the Palestra in late January, but steadily removed layers as he progressed through older hits and selections from the bangin’ “Paper Trail.” By the time he performed “Whatever you like’ he was shirtless (removing like 6 layers) and almost pants-less (due to lack of a belt), luckily he kept it together, because as much as I like that song I think it would have lost something if I saw him perform it sans pants. When he got to “Top of the World” Ludacris joined him onstage to the complete shock of the crowd, they finished that song and Luda did “Move!” without putting down his bottle of Jack Daniels. TI came back and finished his set, culminating in “Swagger Like Us” when Jay came back out to bat clean up.
Jay finished the set with an unbelievably long list of classics and then brought out home town favorites State Property. This “reunion” was lackluster to say the least: Sigel was a no show, O, Sparks and Peedi were no where to be found and Freeway, Chris and Neef were brought to the stage in a kind of hip-hop “show and tell.” The most positive thing about this part of the concert was that The Young Guns were not allowed to perform “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.” I was actually pretty disappointed in this part of the show because I can count the things from Philadelphia that don’t disgust me on one hand: State Property, The Roots, Mitch Canopus (a guy I work with), the sneaker store UBIQ, and...damn, I guess that’s it.
The show concluded with Jay-Z talking politics and telling the crowd to get home safe (a nod to Philadelphia’s incredibly violent population).
Overall it was a sick show and it was definitely worth a trip to my least favorite place on earth.