First Posted: 7/22/2013
SCRANTON — The tickets might have read “America's Most Wanted Festival,” but it was clear Sunday night there was only one star at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain: Lil' Wayne.
From the moment he set foot on the stage, the rapper born 30 years ago as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. owned it, along with the hearts and minds of just about everyone in attendance. Every word he uttered was met with loud cheers as the large crowd heartily sang along and danced throughout his 70-minute performance.
In addition to Wayne and his four-piece band, there were a DJ (who took over for a few minutes while Wayne left the stage to change his clothes — from a white T-shirt, gray pants with one leg rolled up just below the knee and a gray baseball cap to a pair of green shorts slung low to reveal a fair amount of his white underpants and no shirt, all the better to show off his physique and tattoos), a female background vocalist, four skateboarders, tons of pyrotechnics and multitudes of scantily clad women who writhed along to nearly every song.
As is customary at every Lil' Wayne performance, he told the crowd three things they need to know about him: 1. He believes in God; 2. He ain't (expletive deleted) without them; and 3. Repeat number 2 to even wilder cheers. He repeated this routine at the end of his set, just after he tried to ride one of the skateboards and showed at least one thing he does not do that well.
The man has sold millions of downloads and discs and has appeared on more than 100 songs that have reached the Billboard Hot 100; in fact, in September of 2012 he surpassed Elvis Presley and became the male artist with the most all-time hits on that chart.
So clearly he is popular. But like the musical stylings of Yanni, John Tesh and most death-metal music, I just don't get it.
Obviously, he has a way with a hook and a way with words that people find appealing, but the only words I was able to make out for most of the evening were either expletives, degrading to women or both.
I know, I know, I'm not his target demographic, so it's no wonder I don't get it. Fair enough. And it was quite impressive to see the entire crowd sing along with every utterance as the security guards tried to keep them from standing on the chairs and dancing in the aisles. At the same time, it was baffling to me how so many people could embrace something so vulgar on the surface.
Earlier in the evening, the crowd also was entertained by uber-producer Hit-Boy, who has worked with the likes of Kanye West, and T.I., who has racked up quite an impressive list of hits as well. From what I was told, there also was a group that performed for about 10 minutes at the start of the show.
So maybe that's the impressive part about Lil' Wayne: Under the guise of a “festival,” he is able to charge more than $100 per ticket for a little more than an hour's worth of work. (The entire show provided about three hours of entertainment.)
Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.