Lil Wayne's Welcome to Tha Carter Tour Comes to the House of Blues

Lil Wayne stands before a sold out room of screaming fans.
Lil Wayne stands before a sold out room of screaming fans. Photo by Darrin Clifton
A giant vertical screen nestled between two risers on the stage displayed the image of a rising sun. On the left riser a drummer began tapping out a steady beat while on the opposite riser the DJ queued up the beat for “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” by the late Harry Belafonte. Standing in front of the rising sun was Dewayne Michael Carter Jr., dressed in his now signature “hippie” style with an oversized sweatshirt and flannel pants.

His blond dreads flowed from underneath an oversized beanie and he brushed them out of his face to reveal the dark shades he had just put on to cover his eyes from the glare of the blinding, flashing bright lights on stage. As the MC grabbed the microphone the screen behind him immediately turned bright white and a familiar kick drum blasted through the speakers sending the crowd into a frenzy. The words “6 Foot, 7 Foot” flashed across the screen matching the marching cadence now filling the room at the House of Blues. The audience roared as Lil Wayne continued his Welcome to Tha Carter Tour.

The tour, named after his pivotal album series and announced at the top of this year, has Wayne traveling to 28 cities in North America and celebrating his almost three decades in music. The New Orleans MC who began his career in 1995 has gone from being part of a duo with labelmate B.G., to a member of the Hip Hop powerhouse The Hot Boys, to helming the Cash Money label on his own as he built up his solo career, to becoming a CEO of Young Money, to introducing the world to artists like Nicki Minaj and Drake.

With a resume and catalog that formidable trying to pack 30 years into roughly an hour and 15 minutes is, for many, an arduous task. Wayne did it with ease, running through album cuts, mixtape classics, and featured songs with the skill crafted over his years of performing.

When the tour was announced in January many fans took notice of the fact that the venues weren’t as large as you’d expect for an artist of Wayne’s caliber. While he could have easily booked and sold out some of the larger stadiums in the city the rapper instead chose venues like the House of Blues for a more intimate setting. It was a move that paid off for the fans lucky enough to snag a ticket.
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The MC put on an intimate stage show with stadium theatrics.
Photo by Darrin Clifton
“I’m used to seeing him in big stadiums so I was shocked that it was here,” said Carl Moore. “But he came in here and put on a show like he was in the Toyota Center. It was a great show, and you were able to really see his stage presence. His interaction with the crowd and his transitions between songs shows he is an all-time great.

Transitions were key, as Wayne made sure to give fans just enough before segueing into the next song. From album cuts like “Mr. Carter” and “Lollipop” to mixtape classics like “Cannon,” Lil Wayne kept the show moving, giving fans a chance to sing along and get into the music while not resting too long on any particular track. By the time an hour had passed,the Hollygrove native managed to make his way through over forty songs, sometimes even combining two tracks like “Back That Ass Up” and “Uproar.”
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Wayne thanks the crowd for coming out.
Photo by Darrin Clifton
The MC also displayed his gratitude constantly stopping to thank fans at multiple points during the show, even sending a shout out to one of the city’s beloved sports franchises.

“I want to send a special thank you to the Houston Astros,” said the MC while taking a quick break during the show. “They showed me so much love today. Houston showed me so much love today.”

For fans at the House of Blues Tuesday night, the celebration of Lil Wayne’s career was not to be missed. The MC put on a performance worthy of his self-proclaimed best-rapper-alive title.
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Houston Press contributor DeVaughn Douglas is a freelance writer, blogger, and podcaster. He is 1/2 of the In My Humble Opinion Podcast and 1/1 of the Sleep and Procrastination Society. (That last one isn't a podcast; he just procrastinates and sleeps a lot.)