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Lupe Fiasco: Generation Lasers Tour

I watched Lupe Fiasco and Trey Songz perform during the 2011 MTV Movie awards this past spring, and I remember sending a text message after to one of my friends saying how badly I wanted to see Lupe Fiasco perform live. Well, this past Wednesday I got my wish.

After driving 1 1/2 hours to Columbus, I arrived just at the beginning of the warm up set. I have only heard a few Chiddy Bang songs played throughout the past couple of years, but I was thrilled when I found out I would have a chance to see one of their performances. Say what you want about warm up acts, but Chiddy Bang went above and beyond just keeping the crowd occupied before headliner Lupe Fiasco took the stage.

The Philly based duo stayed true to their “basement party music” reputation, and set the tone for the rest of the night at LC Pavilion. Chiddy Bang performed songs like “Mind Your Manners”, “Truth”, and “Dancing With the DJ Remix”, which got the entire group of those brave enough to party in the pit located in front of the stage jumping up and down, and most everyone in the building singing along to the line “We don’t care if the sun comes up” (which seemed to be the extent of the crowd’s general lyrical knowledge of the songs).

Producer Xaphoon Jones (better known as Noah) acted as a hype man for rapper Chidera “Proto” Anamege, aka Chiddy, boasting to the house about his man’s freestyle talents. Little known fact: Chiddy actually broke the Guinness World Record for Longest Freestyle Rap and Longest Marathon Rapping in 2009 when he rapped for nine hours and 18 minutes.

Photo Credit: Steve Leibrand ; Columbus Wired

Noah gave Chiddy an opportunity to show off his freestyling skills when he asked the crowd to shout out random topics, selecting ones such as apple, onomonopia, television show The Office, Somolia, and unicorns. Chiddy then proved he can put together a decent rap on seemingly any topic to popular Big Sean beats as well as crowd-approved “Racks” by Young Chris. They closed out their 50 minute set with their most widely known song, Opposite of Adults, which really underscored the party-like atmosphere that would continue on into the night.

After a brief 20 minute intermission filled with chants of “Lupe! Lupe!” and audience members dancing to the background music played over the house speakers, the main attraction, Lupe Fiasco, took the stage to the noise of sirens and to bright, red flashing lights. Members of the crowd went wild when finally able to recognize the first chords of Lupe’s most current song, “Words I Never Said”.

Lupe head-banged along with members of his full band through the beginning verse, but suddenly stopped during the chorus.  He tried to get the attention of his band members through visual contact and some arm waving, but resorted to running up and strumming his guitarist’s instrument to get their attention. After all noises stopped, Lupe turned and addressed the crowd with a simple “Hey”. He then went on talking through his mic to various stage crew members, alerting them to the fact that he was having technical difficulties and was not able to hear himself in his earpiece. It took the crew about five minutes to get the glitch sorted out, but the crowd did not lose any of its high energy, which was evident when the music began again, this time with Lupe’s “Shining Down”.

Those who were disappointed with the shortened “Words I Never Said” performance were elated when Lupe announced he would start the show over, and went on to perform the song with just as much headbanging and singing coming from the crowd as his first attempt. The show continued on with “Sate Run Radio” and “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now”, to which Lupe thrashed around stage, even taking opened water bottles and dispersing their contents onto the crowd.

A few lucky fans convinced Lupe to take a song request–after several failed attempts at grabbing the rapper’s attention in

Photo Credit: Steve Leibrand ; Columbus Wired

between songs throughout the night, Lupe finally noticed them, and asked them in his super-casual tone what was up. They asked him if he would play his song “Shut It Down”, to which Lupe happily obliged after organizing the detour off the set list by communicating individually with each of his band members.

Older tunes such as “Go Go Gadget Flow”, “Hip Hop Saved My Life”, and Grammy nominated “Kick, Push”, definitely seemed to be the crowd favorites of the night, and my personal highlight of the night soon followed. Know how there are certain songs that when you hear them, you are instantly transported back in time to a very specific memory or time in your life? Lupe Fiasco performed the personal soundtrack to my life this past spring, “Out of My Head”, a song to which I have some of my best memories of college so far. This song was then made even more memorable for me, and not just because of the loud singing coming from everyone around me, but because of Lupe’s violinist who literally “shredded” while performing, snapping the hairs on his bow which then waved fiercely around in the air as he continued to play.

Ashanti, otherwise known as “The Mad Violinist”, is a member of Lupe’s band and seriously a musical genius (check out him detailing some of his accomplishments on thelupendblog.com and his youtube channel, TheMadViolinist). He’s the man behind key notes being played in many popular songs, such as Young Money’s “Bedrock”, “Over” by Drake, and Trey Songz’s “Bottom’s Up”.

Photo Credit: Steve Leibrand ; Columbus Wired

Lupe appropriately closed the show with perhaps his most famous tune, “Show Goes On”, a song where The Mad Violinist is the main feature, and he did not disappoint here either. I did not know it was possible to completely jam out to a violin, but Ashanti did and had everyone there jamming out with him, completely roaring in enthusiasm and awe. If he ever goes on tour around our area, I would pay mega bucks (well, as much as “mega” is to a college student) to see him in concert.

As if the show was not absolutely spectacular and a great experience on it’s own, my sister and I had the pleasure of being randomly invited to hang out by Lupe’s guitarist, Eric Hammer, along with crew member Reggie (he’s the one fans may remember seeing squirting Super Soakers out into the audience during Lupe’s show). We were waiting along the venue’s fence, just hoping to catch a glimpse of any of the performers we were just lucky enough to see, when they approached us and asked us if we wanted to go see what was happening inside.

I only hesitated to accept the invite for a minute while I weighed up my chances of being arrested if I entered through the gate. They escorted us in where we got to chat and chill with Lupe and his band members while they hung around and played basketball. We were impressed with how down to earth, fun, and friendly everyone was with us while offering us an exclusive look into what goes on as they wait for their show to be packed up to head to the next location (which was St. Louis just the next day).

After turning down an invitation to follow the group to the after party (my sister is a high school senior, and it was already way past her curfew), we headed home but did not stop talking about the show once during the two hour ride.

 

Chelsea Browne; Columbus Wired 

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