Sprint Pre-Game Concert feat. B.O.b, Ludacris, and Ke$ha All-Star Jam Session at George R. Brown Convention Center February 17th, 2013
Sunday afternoon, as I was counting down the minutes until I had to leave an amazing All-Star day party, where I was making friends with a beautiful girl, drinking a beautiful drink, listening and dancing to beautiful music... I began to dread the news that I received earlier in the week.
The headliner for the Pre-Game concert was to be Ke$ha.
Not exactly the All-Star caliber of performer I was hoping for. I mean, she has a damn dollar sign in her name! I'm a grown ass man, dawg... I don't exactly wanna see a blonde, auto-tuned "singer" covered in glitter waving her private parts in my general vicinity.
After jumping through hoops (DYSWIDT?) to enter the Sprint Arena at the NBA All-Star Jam Session inside the cavernous George R. Brown, I was escorted to a backstage area where a "yellow carpet" was setup, expecting celebrities to roll by any minute. Aaaaany minute now. That minute never came, so I abandoned that post and headed to the stage.
I was joined by hundreds of music fans eager to see Atlanta rappers B.o.B and Ludacris, and yes, even Ke$ha. Kevin Hart, Diddy, and Drake all made guest appearances as well.
The show was being broadcast live on NBA TV, so the lighting and sound was top notch.
In a pleasant surprise and ode to the local community, the Texas Southern University Ocean of Soul Drum Line began the action with a high power performance that set the mood. Dressed in their maroon and white band uniforms, I was reminded of my days as a drum major, playing and dancing in front of big crowds and generally having a blast. Band Director Mr. Dee and his crew of kids were all smiles as they walked off stage, ready to be entertained by the rest of the show.
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E! News' Terrence J played host for the evening, nicely dressed in a suit and tie, smiling from ear to ear and even jumping off stage to interact with the crowd. He was joined by DJ Irie, the official DJ of the Miami Heat, who was perched on a platform in the middle of the arena. I've gotta say, even with the commercial breaks and other technical issues, the night progressed smoothly thanks to this duo.
As the first notes of "Magic" rang out, B.o.B jumped onto the stage, draped up with his gold grill and pinky rings and jean jacket. Nothing says "I'm a Hipster Gangsta Rapper" like a bedazzled jean jacket. Bobby Ray is a talented performer, and a darn good rhymer, something that is almost lost in the pop/rap songs that his career is anchored on. He followed with "Nothing On You" and "So Good", which are two songs that are starred in my Spotify playlists.
During the sets and commercial breaks, the Rockets Launch Crew and Power Dancers danced, jumped, and cheered in order to keep the crowd interested and interactive. If the crowd didn't all stand up for the music, they were definitely standing up trying to catch a free t-shirt. Add in "The Wobble" and the crowd kept it moving and having a good time through the delays.
Ludacris was next up off the bench. Now, this was not necessarily so but pretty much was a family show, so having the performers self-censor their lyrics is fucking hilarious considering that the audience is going to sing along and yell the curse words anyway.
Mr. Disturbing The Peace began his set by telling the crowd to "Stand Up", then asking them to get low with "How Low (Can You Go)". We were all certainly getting our workout at this show! And the best and most comedic part of the night was Luda choosing "Move Bitch (Get Out The Way) as his closer. I could actually see the horror on the face of the two little Asian kids in the front row.
Oh you, Ludacris!
Finally, the glam princess took the stage. I can see why many regard Ke$ha as the "poor man's" Lady Gaga. The dance routines, the make-up, and the outfits are all tight, shiny, and sensual. She's a bit of a mix between dance/EDM and pop, with an equal balance of love and lust, confidence and flamboyance, trashy and adorable.
"We R Who We R" was her first selection, surrounded by male dancers and a live band. I began to see why she has so many fans.... She doesn't sing very well, but she performs extremely well. What she lacks in vocal ability she makes up for in showmanship. She followed with "Blow" (double/triple entendre much?), which in this case is alluding to a party that is about to blow.
"Has anyone ever brush their teeth with a bottle of Jack (Daniel's whiskey)" she asked to nobody in particular? Cue the Asian mother in the front row. Again. That could only mean "Tik Tok", the song where she wakes up feeling like P. Diddy, was next. I wonder if she actually got the meet Diddy back there.
The stage, I mean. Backstage, ahem....
She then closed with "Die Young" and she disappeared. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I really liked her show. And guess what, I was able to avoid the glitter most of the night... Until the confetti cannon and streamers were unleashed into the crowd at the very last moment.
Hey Ke$sha. Call me, maybe?!
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Personal Bias: I had fun this weekend, and I was glad for once this weekend, the artist scheduled to show up AND perform actually showed up and performed.
The Crowd: Kids and young adults with their parents. Asian Mom does not approve of your curse words.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I should have painted my face more!"
Random Notebook Dump: I was sad to leave the party I mentioned in the intro, but this was a good time. I think I'm a Ke$ha fan now.