Gibson Amphitheater, Los Angeles
November 13, 2012
From Pittsburgh mix tap flop to festival main stage headliner, Wiz Khalifa turned the Gibson Amphitheater into LA's next best Cannabis expo last night. Since he recording Ink My Whole Body in 2008, the Wizzle man has had a snow ball effect of mix tape stardom, including the infamous Kush and Orange Juice.
Many view Wiz as a rapper, but he's more than a mere chain-hang-low, all-I-sing-is-about-the-ratchet stereo type. The amazing thing about Wiz is, he can go from a high-energy song like "Taylor Gang" - flashing high beams and spotlights included -- then go to a funky psychedelic cut like, "The Grinder," with an acid green LED screen, faded yellow lights and Champaign room, red lit back lights.
As the dark phantom of the opera keyboard tones reverberated off the walls, and a 20-foot winged blue bong set as the stages center piece, Wiz took center stage with his Steven Tyler clothed mic stand. Wiz wasted no time getting the crowd's vibe right, with the infectious build up of "When I'm Gone."
He then transferred energy with a release from Cabin Fever, with the hustle and grind track "Gangbang." This triggered a night full of surprises, as Big Sean rushed the stage - after he missed his part. Though he missed his verse, once the song was over, Sean free styled his part a-capella, as the crowd was instantly energized.
Juicy J and Lola Monroe followed the line of special performance guests. NWA's bastard child, The Game made a special appearance as well, while lauding the rise of the Westcoast in, "Celebration" Finally, the ratchet man himself, Tyga rushed the stage, looking like a Blood version of Michael Jackson with, "Faded." For a second it felt like you were at a festival, with all the A-list talent blind siding the stage.
The lights go dark, and enter the raspy voice of Wiz. As the lights go up and you hear bass drop accompanied with the phrase, TAYLOR...GANG. The whole TGOD-crew invaded the stage. Accompanying the team was a life size lighter and joint, just in case there weren't enough O's in the back to smoke.
When Wiz first hit the stage, he seemed a bit drained from the tour. Or it could be from all the paper airplanes, fully loaded with green Kush-ites.
As the set continued, his energy exploded from the stage and into the crowd.
With Cabin fever 2 recently dropping, Juicy J joined Wiz and MIA, as the TG-crew took over the stage once again. Every member lined up behind wiz like a DJ Khalid video, chanting words that pledged their allegiance to THC. With as much chronic as this concert had, you have to wonder how Colorado and Massachusetts beat us in the race to legalize weed.
At the climax of the show, Wiz did a cluster of his, Kush and Orange Juice hits.
hearing "Never Been" with a live band, takes the track from a mix tape bathroom rap, into a euphoric ecstasy driven acid trip, as the thick bass lines, smooth key strokes and live drums blast this song into glory. Let's just say this is what I though the song sounded like, when I was in college.
He continued with "Memorize," then cut into his Kush clock with, "Still Blazing." Wiz fittingly yelled, "I love weed," and did a rap solo singing, "I don't care what my mom says, I'm still blazing. I don't care what the cops say, I'm still blazing. I don't care what my boss says, I'm still blazing."
While Wiz jammed out to the inspirational anthem, "The race," he gave off an essence of passion and heart of where he came from, while showing pure joy of what he does singing, "I'm in a race and taking the winners place, no foot on the breaks..." The song put the night in prospective, as the crowd sang together, Girls with double F implants played with each other and the packed room shared countless joints.
There was no demographic gap on this night. Literally every type of person was in the audience; kids with snapback hats and tattoos, hot girls in lens-less glasses, moms with their little 4 year-olds, wild hair ratchets, club going healed girls and more.
Wiz ended his set with a positive speech to the crowd of peace, while raising his fingers in peace.
He then finished the night off with "Work Hard, Play Hard" The timeless Depeche Mode-influenced melody, paired with big house keys, and was a refreshing way to cap the night.
Critic's Bias: After seeing Wiz three times in the past year, I feel that he is much more impressive with a band behind him. Watching him in Vegas with just a DJ just does not to anyone justice. But on this night at the Gibson, I truly felt like as if I were at a major festival's main stage.
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The Crowd: Early college kids, moms with kids, snap back hats and tattoos, all kinds of ratchet, nerdy hot girls, dolled up club girls and more.
Random Notebook Dump: A poshed-out, healed-up girl bossed her, blazer wearing Jonas brother looking boyfriend, to get on his knees and search for a lost phone, in the dark.
Driving through the parking lot, the first thing I see are cops arresting a guy with a shirt that says "Sativa" -- Sorry, you aren't in Colorado.