Monday, September 22, 2008

Nelly's Late, Late Show

Last Monday, I caught Nelly's show at the House of Blues. I'm sorta old, so I wasn't sure I could do a late concert on a Monday, but because I represent the STL, I had to be there. As I was out of Pimp Juice, I had to fuel up on Red Bull. The ticket said the show would start at 11pm, but I knew midnight was more likely. I showed up around 11:45pm to find the place only about half full. Gradually, it filled up and people began to get restless. Nelly and the St. Lunatics finally took the stage around 12:30 AM. Damn, Nelly! You made us wait 4 years for this new album and you're still making us wait!

They woke us right up with a quick rendition of "Party People". Nelly was looking super-fit and hot, wearing jeans, two tank tops, sideways baseball cap and shades. He delivered a fast-paced set, clocking in at nearly 2 hour
s, and giving the crowd just about every track from his new album Brass Knuckles and most of his old hits. A lot of the hits were delivered in abbreviated style, almost medleys, but with extra energy to make up for less length.

Besides the ubiquitous Lunatics, Nelly brought a few guests. He sang "Who Fucks Wit Me" with Avery Storm, as he does on the album. Avery has a soulful voice and seems pretty fly for a white guy. At one poi
nt, a seemingly drunk or high dude in the crowd behind me kept dancing like a maniac and bumping into me. I was annoyed but dismissed it as typical House of Blues behavior. Then I was suprised to see this same hyperactive guy up on stage with the band. Nelly introduced him as Keak da Sneak, one of his rapping idols from the Bay Area. He also let all the Lunatics take turns in the spotlight, especially Murphy Lee who reprised his "Shake Your Tailfeather" hit and spoke about his new album coming soon. Nelly also introduced City Spud. Remember when Nelly used to always wear a bandaid on his face? That was a shout to City Spud who was in jail at the time. When he got released, Nelly retired the bandaid.

Nelly reminded us at least 20 times that Brass Knuckles would be in the store the next day and was so named because it was going to hit us hard. Judging by the songs he played, I'd sa
y the album delivers. I particularly liked "Lie" which he said was about how once in a great while it's the lady's fault when a relationship goes sour. I think "Party People" (featuring Fergie) is a great jam. Then there's the anthemic "Self Esteem" (featuring Chuck D) which gives a positive message but comes off like an imitation of Nas' "I Can." The guest star lineup for the album is impressive: Ciara, Usher, Snoop Dogg, TI, LL Cool J, Ashanti. The song "La" (featuring Snoop), a tribute to all things LA, got much love from the LA crowd.

I've seen Nelly twice before. First was at the outdoor amphiteather in Irvine as part of a rap fest, then headlining at the Gibson Amphiteater when "Sweat / Suit" was released, and this was the first ti
me in an intimate venue. It was definitely the most fun show of the three, probably because it was small, but also because Nelly seems more comfortable in the spotlight and his routines with the Lunatics were really tight.

Nelly saved two big hits for the encore: "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma". My only disappointment with the show was that he never took his tank top off. Well, he took the t
op layer off, but kept the white wife beater on, teasing us and disobeying "Hot in Herre"'s oft-repeated command: "It's getting hot in herre, so take off all your clothes." Oh well, I forgive him.

Read my hip hop guide to St. Louis

Here's some pics courtesy of my new iphone...

Nelly, don't go into the light!

Nelly and St. Lunatics imitate NKOTB

Nelly and Keak da Sneak

Nelly and City Spud

Nelly and Ali (of St. Lunatics)

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