When Orange County got word of Kendrick Lamar's DAMN Tour stopping at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Fri. Aug. 11, it was only a matter of time before the tickets sold out. Assuming everyone was on the same page, we're all very excited and expecting a legendary experience from the current king of West Coast rap, but what I got was something much different. I expected to come out praising the "God" Kendrick is live, but instead, I created a list five things that stood out most about the show, for better or worse.
Before the show I didn't have the slightest clue who D.R.A.M. was, so I did a little research. Turns out I'm only familiar with one of his recent songs, "Broccoli." So when he was on stage singing another one of his called, "Cha Cha", my eyebrows squinted and confusion filled my face. He must have closed his eyes and labeled himself hip-hop because he was definitely more of a reggae vibe. Don't get me wrong, reggae is great, but I came here to see hip-hop and that thew me for a loop. Maybe Kendrick owed someone a favor and that's why he had such a slow and calming opener, but personally I expected the first act to be somewhat explosive and add to anticipation of Kendrick's, unfortunately, it was the complete opposite and almost put me to sleep. I would have asked those around me their thoughts, but looks like the majority were cool with skipping DRAM's performance as many guests came later.
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Thankfully YG came out and brought some energy with him. I noticed less empty seats while he sang "Why You Always Hatin," "My Nigga," "Twist My Fingaz," and a ton of other popular songs with friends on stage. YG is a young cat, but he doesn't come out acting like that, he commanded our attention from the moment he hit the stage. He made sure all the fans knew the words as he turned his mic towards them to sing. Then halfway through his set, the stands erupt with screams from the ladies as he ripped off his shirt and threw it to the side, all those tattoos and muscles, just had the women going crazy. I mean, I'm not all that crazy about YG, but after a performance like that I have no options but to reconsider.
3.The Staples Center
So, I actually had the luxury of seeing the DAMN Tour at the Staples Center earlier that week, which was both good and bad. Good because I was lucky enough to see such a great lyrical rapper two times, but bad because all I did was compare. With the exception of YG the Staples Center show, at least the night I went, was better than the Honda Center. I guess I should take into consideration, that he had already done so many shows that week, but still, I feel like you should go hard the whole time. Maybe Kendrick was unaware how hard we get down in Orange County, especially since the audience was "so in love" from the minute he walked on the stage. I just expected a more variation between the shows and there wasn't much.
Before I get any heat from this statement, hear me out. I like Kendrick's music, but I don't own a single download or CD, so my favorites are either on the radio or Pandora. However, I have gone to many concerts in the past with the same situation and have come out the other side their newest number one fan, with the urgent desire to go buy all their music. Honestly, I was a little disappointed that didn't happen with Kendrick, I just thought he was so boring. I don't mean that no one was into it or enjoying themselves, because that was not the case. He was just basic and simple, other than the loud and bright firecracker that set off the his entrance and first song, there was little excitement on the stage. It felt like he performed almost every song exactly the same and it may sound strange, but I wanted girls dancing, guest artist and that kind of thing. You know, when there's enough going on you don't know where to look because of fear you'll miss something. I could have closed my eyes for a minute of each song and not missed anything.
5. The Best Part
As contradicting as this sounds, he really did get the crowd involved singing his songs, fist pumping and jumping up and down. He did fantastic raising the fans energy level and keeping there, as they watched him rise from the center of the floor seats on his own personal platform that rose about fifteen feet in the air singing. After that he was back on the main stage impressively hoovering in the air, in an acrobatic position, while resting on another person in a whole new wardrobe, OK Kendrick, that was sick, but we need more of it. Lastly, I'm still not tired of "Humble" yet, so when he started to sing it and held the mic out, while the entire crowd rapped every word start to finish with little help from him, I was bummed I couldn't sing along.