Lil Wayne with T.I., Hit-Boy, and G-Easy
The problem with Lil Wayne's America's Most Wanted concert last night in West Palm Beach wasn't Lil Wayne. It wasn't openers G-Easy or T.I. either, nor was it Birdman, who made a cameo during Weezy's set. The problem was that certain expectations that we, the crowd, had for the evening, weren't met.
Tyga was on the bill and did not appear at all, anywhere. A guy in a Heat jersey said he'd heard 2 Chainz was at the Tampa show and might be hitting the stage, but Waka Flocka Flame's Instagram indicated otherwise. By the time Tunechi started on "Rich as Fuck," it was clear, 2 Chainz also wasn't in the building.
Despite Lil Wayne performing songs like "Gunwalk," calling this the America's Most Wanted Tour, and performing in Florida, he didn't mention anything about the George Zimmerman verdict. Though he tweeted about the case the night prior, onstage, Weezy kept things strictly about his love of cunnilingus and the crowd. We were really hoping for a moment of solidarity beyond the singsongs.
Tampa was amazing but kame bak to my bus and saw da news...ain't shit change, and I may never get to see it do so. I pray 4my kids & yours.
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) July 14, 2013
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Certainly, it isn't Weezy's job or actual responsibility to comment on the case. But given the gun shot sounds coming from the Cruzan stage all night, and the fact that the show took place in this, the state where the injustice took place, he kind of passed up the opportunity to connect with the audience on a real level. Beyonce held a moment of silence at her Nashville show in memory of Trayvon Martin on Saturday. A comment would have really offered depth to an otherwise sort of shallow concert experience. Don't sing about guns onstage if you can't address the consequences of people bearing arms.
And while that was disappointing to those of us horrified by the results of the trial, the whole of the crowd was wondering and asking each other, "Did I miss Tyga?" Absurdly heavy rain got people to the show late, but that wasn't the reason they missed him. The man who brought us to "Rack City" and got our booties pumping like almost no other song has in the past few years, was absent entirely. T.I. with Hustle Gang rapped along to the "Bugatti" and "We Still in This Bitch" tracks, getting everyone bouncing on their toes, but really, this is a group tour, and we wanted Tyga too.
Lil Wayne may have really cheesy taste in stuff, like his Weezy-as-mothman themed visuals, but man, every person in the whole crowd was chanting his songs, word for word. Their voices overtook the sound blasting from the speakers. The wet grass was entirely covered with dancing feet. Skater boys displayed their athletic prowess on an onstage half-pipe, and there were plenty of pyro moments to wow even the grumpiest grump.
Weezy put a lot of energy into his performance, even though there wasn't a particular moment when everyone's panties dropped. The night peaked when Birdman came out for "Still Fly" and "Tapout," but a lack of an encore soon after that really slowed down the pounding hearts in the amphitheatre. The concert stopped suddenly, and people asked each other, "is that it?" You need an encore with one of your biggest hits (we would have requested Drake show up for "The Motto," which Weezy didn't perform at all). This satiates your crowd and leaves them actually panting for more.
A personal pet peeve is the phenomenon of live bands at hip-hop shows. The corny guitar wails and drum solos just really serve to embarrass those of us who don't want to be reminded of the smooth jazz of our parents when grinding on the stoner next to us. Though it's great that everyone's on the Roots train, in a way, no one's as good at live-band hip-hop as the Roots, guys. A DJ does just fine.
The crowd didn't seem to notice at all though. White girls, black girls, lesbians, dudes in snapbacks, a drag queen in a body suit, and so many fake boobies, all came together to bounce in clouds of smoke under rainy skies. And yeah everyone maybe left wishing they'd gotten more for their money, but it's doubtful anyone there will miss Lil Wayne next time he's in town, Tyga or not.
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