Thursday’s Black Eyed Peas concert, with Ludacris opening, was a celebration of energetic music, theatrical costumes, creative technology – and Atlanta itself.
“When they told us the tour was going to start in Atlanta some of my friends were like huh? Why don’t you start in L.A. or New York?” the group’s will.i.am said at one point. “I said because the Black Eyed Peas are hot right now. It’s got to be Hotlanta!”
The night started, fittingly, with “Let’s Get It Started,” and ended with dance hits “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” which wrapped up with confetti shot into the air, political-convention style.
The show, which featured the group’s members performing together and separately (Taboo flew through the air on a motorcycle suspended from the ceiling during his bit), made innovative use of technology and at times felt like a social media conference.
“The last time we were in Atlanta was 2006? No, 2005,” will.i.am noted during the show. “The difference is this time there are no more record stores. For some reason this is our biggest year. Why? We engage with our fans online. We thank you for being our friends. This is our 11th year doing music. We’ve sold a lot of records and the reason why is you guys!”
The fan-friendly set list, including “Rock that Body” and “Now Generation” off The E.N.D. to “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Fergalicious” and “Glamorous” off Fergie’s solo album, Duchess, and “My Humps” off Monkey Business, didn’t disappoint. But will.i.am’s mixing session, where he sampled everything from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Guns and Roses to Michael Jackson to Kings of Leon to Nirvana, was a highlight of the night.
Meshing tech and talent, he freestyle rapped early in the show, working in lines text-messaged from fans. As the random thoughts appeared on a big screen he worked them into his rhymes.
Fergie, her many different costumes and her, uh, assets took center stage often, with strategic camera close-ups capturing those lovely lady lumps to great effect.
“It feels like my first day at school today,” she said, giggling coquettishly. “We’re all meeting each other. Everyone is welcome.”
We didn’t get there in time for pre-openers LMFAO but the girls sitting near us said they were “a bunch of clowns,” which we suppose could be either a compliment or criticism. Ludacris pumped the crowd up during his opening segment. Ever the entrepreneur he used part of his stage time to promote Conjure, his brand of cognac. (”Drink responsibly,” he threw in). His bit seemed to end sort of suddenly. He was still at work when the lights came on. Getting the picture he said, “I have to go!”
- Jennifer Brett, firstname.lastname@example.org