Reporting Sara Pelissero
If there’s one thing I learned from attending my first Lil Wayne concert Wednesday night, it’s this: Lil Wayne loves the ladies — and the ladies love them some Lil Wayne.
If it wasn’t completely apparent by the reaction after Weezy posed his first question — wondering “where the ladies at?” — it was certainly clear by the third, fourth and fifth inquiries.
But, as he would prove over and over again, it didn’t matter — he could do just about anything he wanted and the crowd would eat it up and beg for more.
That is — with one exception. The one thing that Lil Wayne did to make the crowd go silent? Leave the stage. And for some reason or another — a pee break, perhaps? — he did this more than once.
Though the self-proclaimed best rapper alive seemed extremely thankful to be back on stage — and not behind bars — Lil Wayne’s performance at the Xcel Energy Center was somewhat hit or miss — but in the end, I must say, for my first exposure of Weezy, it was mostly hit.
Lil Wayne has a stage presence that just can’t be denied. From the moment he took the stage, his energy was through the roof. He even paused during the evening to check out the venue before proclaiming, it may be a high ceiling but the crowd shouldn’t have a problem blowing it off.
He thanked everyone over and over — for buying his albums, being his fans and supporting him while he was incarcerated at Rikers. And of course, he made sure to remind us throughout the show of when his new album, Carter IV, drops.
He had the crowd at his beckon call through hits like “Bill Gates” and “Got Money” before busting into the mixtapes portion of the night.
Around that time is when the show went a little south for me. At perhaps some of the highest energy of the night, Weezy heads off stage and lets Miss Shanell take over. You could almost hear the record skip in the crowd.
It was a strange moment in the show and certainly ruined the flow. I even spotted a few members of the audience leave the arena, deciding this would be a great time to grab another beer or check out the merchandise table.
So when Lil Wayne emerged on stage again, perhaps it was half that the crowd had missed him and half that they were glad Shanell was done (no offense to her, but we were here for a Weezy show) but the room quickly regained energy as he ripped through his portion of “John” and an on-fire “I’m On One.”
But just when we’re back in the swing of things, Lil Wayne ditches the mic again. But this time, it’s an even more offensive retreat — he leaves us in the sole custody of his DJ. Now, I don’t mean to rag on DJs but it’s hard for me to really get entertained by a DJ at a concert. Perhaps it’s the constant commands of where to put my hands, how to wave them, when to make noise, but I just simply don’t get it. Sorry.
Though truth be told, I’m not a die-hard Lil Wayne fan and this was one of my first rap concerts (I pretty much went because I was dying of curiosity) so to be fair, I’m still learning the ropes.
I must say there were several moments when Lil Wayne had the crowd, myself included, wrapped around his little finger. When he strutted across a long archway that connected the main stage to a smaller stage in the back of the arena, I couldn’t have been more thoroughly entertained.
He slowed things down for an acoustic version of “Lollipop” that was both surprising and delightful, and later hit the night’s high note with a blaze-induced “Fire Flame.” He did a little pillow fighting during “Bedrock” and asked permission from the crowd to dip into his new jam off Carter IV before wrapping things up.
By the end of the night, I was still standing by my initial assessment that whatever Lil Wayne does, his fans will follow — the man can simply do no wrong. He just has to stay on stage.