Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MTV World Stage feat. The Black Eyed Peas @ Terminal 5, April 18, 2011

The boys at 1iota put together yet another great free concert event, complete with me being up in the front again, on camera acting like a crazy person. This is indeed my MO, my concert etiquette for the most part, but it was very surprising to me this time around. The reason: I'm not a Black Eyed Peas fan. I used to be, I really was, back in the days of "Joints and Jams" they were one of my favorite groups. I loved their new age hip-hop sound, great songs to dance too. They're quite a few years removed from those days, and they've since added a girl to the group (Fergie) and changed their sound pretty much completely. Their new sound, quite poppy, with a touch of techno/dance music, is not my favorite, but it seems to be everyone else's. I know this because it's impossible to go to a club nowadays without hearing at least a few of their songs. With all these cards against them, you may be wondering how I managed to even mildly enjoy myself at this show. Well I'll tell you...

First of all I got priority tickets, which means I got to go inside first; that's a plus. After they had people line up outside they made people advance so they could fit everyone in one section. As me and my plus one walked closer to the venue, we were stopped by one of the 1iota staff and each handed an index card with a pink dot on it. I didn't really know what it was for, I just assumed that maybe they gave it to all of the people on the priority line. After a bit of standing around waiting one of the staff members told all the people with index cards and dots to move up to the front of the line! Nice! We then moved up to the front with the other people with index cards, only to realize that their were different dots, pink (like we had) and yellow, which some other people had. After another little bit of waiting, the same staff member who invited the index card holders to the front, then said that the pink dot index card people (like us) were going to be let in first, so we could be in the VERY front. Umm, double nice! And that's where we ended up, right at the front. It reminded me of the NFL Kickoff concert that happened in Columbus Circle a few years ago. The guys from 1iota also had tickets to be up front at that show too, and randomly picked me and my friend off the line that time to put us up in the very front! Maybe I just have a face for TV!

We got inside the venue known as Terminal 5 and it was a lot smaller than I thought, which makes for a very intimate setting. The setup and the lights make you feel like you're at a much larger space than you are, so you have the "big concert" feel in a small space; it's quite a cool spot to see live music. DJ Amo was on the turntables mixing techno tracks for the crowd, getting people in the dancing mood. He played a remix of that song "Barbara Streisand" which substituted them saying Barbara Streisand with Charlie Sheen, which was kind of funny. After a bit of tunes though the band made it on stage, followed rather quickly by group known as the Black Eyed Peas. They came on very nonchalantly to a resounding response from the crowd, and went straight into "Get It Started," the track formerly known as "Get Retarded." Honestly their energy level was high, but it felt at times that they could have been more energetic, however it's not like you really could have noticed.

They touched on all of their nowadays hit tracks, "Boom Boom Boom," "Don't Phunk with my Heart," and of course "I've got a Feeling." Will.I.Am, the frontman for the group, decided at different intervals to freestyle over makeshift beats done by DJ Amo and the band. It was then, that you realized, that this guy can still rap, and rap well! He would freestyle for quite some time too. This being my first Black Eyed Peas show, I'm not sure whether he does this at every show, or if he was doing it for this special event, which was being live streamed on the internet at MTV.com. Having said that, they sure did curse a lot! You could tell at first that Will let a few ones slip at first when he started up freestyling, so he would try to curb it a bit. After a couple more sessions, especially ones involving Taboo and apl.de.ap, you could tell they through the rules out the window and decided to just have fun with it. I'm hoping the online viewers were enjoying the expletives, because we sure were!

Will also had his Blackberry out while he was on stage; not the entire time but at different intervals. He was taking pictures and uploading it to his Twitter page! It was the ultimate 'meta' experience for everyone, being filmed and streamed live on the internet for the entire world to see, while the Black Eyed Peas are uploading photos of themselves and the crowd onto Twitter. One thing is for certain, B.E.P. are legit performers, who know how to rock a crowd but more importantly, hold a crowd. There were minimal dead spots energy wise for the entire night. People got really quiet when Taboo talked about dedicating "Just Can't Get Enough" to the people of Japan, and also when Will told a story about B.E.P.'s industry history, and how important the internet has been in their success and growth globally, but by no means was it dead in the place. And as soon as they appeared on stage, their exit was just as nonchalant and abrupt. People stood around waiting for an encore, partially because the 1iota people told us not to move because they were possibly going to return for one more song, but it wasn't going to happen. It was fine though, because everyone left quite satisfied with the performance, and some people, like myself, left quite surprised at how much fun they had at the show. It was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed by these guys, and I can safely say that the show was excellent and would recommend seeing them live if you could, it's an experience for sure.

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