August 26, 2011
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine
Despite some speculation over whether a rehabbed Lil Wayne is actually a weak-sauce Lil Wayne (see OC Weekly's Ben Westhoff discuss it here), Weezy's off the bleepin' chain performance on Friday night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine proved without a doubt that this time the sizzurp definitely does not make the man.
Donning a Laker's cap, plain white T-shirt, a Jesus piece and neon orange capris, Weezy put the smack down on any question whether his little vacay away at Rikers Island and subsequent court-ordered sobriety have managed to neuter him as an artist and performer.
Flanked with opening performances by Keri Hilson, Rick Ross and the Far East Movement as part of the I Am Music Tour, Wayne brought the thunder like it was his first time performing for OC music fans, when in actuality, he was just here a couple of weeks ago. And while it's safe to assume coming back to OC just three days before the long anticipated release of his newest album, Tha Carter IV, was primarily to build momentum for the new joint to max capacity in So Cal, Weezy's delivery on every track of his nearly two-hour set went down damn near flawlessly.
To start off his set, Wayne shared with the crowd the three most important things to know about him, and those are: 1. "I believe in God." 2. "I ain't shit without you." And 3. "I ain't shit without you." And with that appreciation made clear to the audience, homeboy went on to deliver a performance that made good on those three facts.
In his signature, E.T.-on-crypto-chronic-weed voice, Lil Wayne performed a good mix of his catalogue which included "6'7" off the new album and "Nightmares of the Bottom" off his latest mixed tape, Sorry 4 The Wait, to club jams like "Lollipop," and even "Miss Me" sans Drake. At one point, he even brought out Cash Money alum, Birdy Man, to do a couple of the earlier hits, and Ms. Chanel was also in tow to bring some female energy to the stage.
Speaking of the ladies, as we all know, Weezy's a notorious poon hound, so of course he pulled out the stops to do some songs especially for the females, namely "Mrs. Officer," and a stripped down version of "How to Love," which he sang while sitting on a stool in the middle of the stage. But none of that came without some, err, classy audience participation for the women in the crowd; such as a call from Wayne for the ladies to, "Stay quiet if your pussy stank." What a charmer.
Anyhoo, perhaps the biggest shift in Lil Wayne's work ethic since being off of the purple drank is how on time the entire show was. Weezy was in and out of that piece by 11:30 p.m. (including encore), which was a little shocking for a hip-hop show. That being said, perhaps with his new release coming out and his new lease on life without sizzurp by his side, our Lil Weezy is finally growing up.
Critic's Bias: In 2010 Lil Wayne signed Southeast Indian pop artist, Jay Sean, to Cash Money Records and released his first single "Down," which went on to make Jay Sean the first Indian pop artist to top Billboard's Hot 100, and ultimately showed me that Weezy is down for my people!
The Crowd: The coolest thing about Lil Wayne fans is they come from all walks of life and are down for whatever, which pretty much sums up the crowd that night.
Overheard in the Crowd: -"Where's Nicki (Minaj) at? Keri Hilson don't got that ass."
-A car in the parking lot had the lyric, "Cause bitch I'm the bomb like tick-tick," painted on the back windshield cuz Weezy fans roll legit like that.
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-"Irvine coming with the bullshit $4.50 bottle of water and I can't keep the cap"?!
Random notebook dump: For a few seconds DJ 45 started to play the opening beat to "Back Dat Ass up" from Weezy's "Hot Boys" days, to which a lady in the row in front of me started backin' her ass up on her man, but soon lost her balance when the song changed and fell face-first into the ass of the guy in front of her. Epic!
I'm going in
Look at me now
We Be Steady Mobbin
Hair Down My Back (Ms. Chanel)
We like her
I can make your bed rock
Nightmares of the Bottom
We Takin Over
How to Love