“I don’t wanna care right know,” I really don’t, but Lupe Fiasco’s “Record Release Party” at the House of Blues in Chicago last night was absolutely awful. To show you just how bad it was, I’ll give you the run down.
All times are approximations
7:57 PM– Arrive at the House of Blues to find a line still outside waiting to get in, even though doors opened at 7:30. Good sign, the show is sold out. Lupe gets more hyped with a bigger crowd, and at capacity, the House of Blues is a pretty big crowd. I start drooling. Wasalu hasn’t had a show in Chicago for about a year, and I haven’t seen him for almost three. I take off my jacket to reveal my ’06 black St. Alfred “Listen to Lupe” shirt; which I chose to wear after anticipating large pit stains (which is normal for me) and hoping Lupe would spot me in the crowd and thank me for being such a dedicated fan.
8:30 PM– DJ Broadway Streetz and his hype man are doing an awesome job. Throwing on tracks such as Common’s “The Food” and Jay Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” the crowd is mouthing the lyrics, bobbing their heads up and down to the beat, and waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care. This show is going to be legendary. I feel it.
8:42 PM– The emcee tells everyone to throw their L’s up in the sky for the first time. “Wow, what a creative way for us to show our appreciation for Lasers, and Lupe himself,” I say to myself. He proceeds to say, “We got a couple opening acts, then the main event will be here!” Crowd goes nuts. A wannabe mix (looks wise) of J. Cole and Lupe gets on stage with creepy dancers, and begins chanting “L-O-V-E” over and over and over and over and over. Thankfully, a wannabe Nicki Minaj (once again looks wise) runs on stage to sing back up vocals. For this article, thankfully will mean unfortunately, and vice versa. Unfortunately, the “L-O-V-E” song finally ends and another chick gets on stage. Lu-Cole and this lady begin screaming into the mic as loud as they can and unfortunately I have no idea what the song was about.
8:55 PM– The second opener gets on stage and they are pleasantly pretty good. It’s a rock band with a young black woman as the lead singer/rhythm guitarist, a small white guy as the lead guitarist, a really tall black guy as the drummer, and an “I’m not too sure” guy as the bassist. I describe the bands members to this extent because the lead singer forgot to mention the bands name during their brief stint on stage. A cover of the Foo Fighters “Best of You” finishes their set, with numerous people in the crowd singing all the words. B+ on the performance band with no name, I just wish I knew who you were so I could download you.
9:12 PM– DJ Broadway Streetz and his boy are back on stage and the first “Lewwwwwww-peeyyyyyyyyyyyyy” chant begins. I make my first joke of the night and get a couple of laughs around me after saying “Wait this isn’t BASEDGODS concert?” Turns out Lil B is actually performing at the HOB in a couple of weeks, so many people probably thought I was just stupid. “We’re gonna bring him out real soon! Don’t ya’ll worry,” the emcee preaches. Ok, so maybe the “couple” of openers statement was a lie, but after announcing the upcoming cypher with about 12 random rappers, many around me think Lupe will jump onstage last and proceed to kill it. High hopes are still alive.
9:38 PM– The cypher begins and surprisingly the rappers aren’t that bad. I really liked “Phenom” and Mikkey Halsted’s verses. Thankfully, instead of Lupe, some guy comes on last, tells the DJ to cut the music and finishes his verse acapella. He actually wasn’t that bad either, just a big let down knowing Lupe still wasn’t on the stage. (Insert name) finally finishes his song, and surprise surprise, he starts performing another acapella verse. I’m pretty sure the two songs were called “Right and Left” and “Up and Down.” Looks like the emcee isn’t the only creative genius in the building!
10:32PM– This guy is STILL rapping. Bro, you are not Lupe. You were cool for a while but we’ve had enough. First time boos resonate for longer than 5 seconds. The crowd is getting pretty restless. He notices his two options are now: 1) Get booed off the stage, or 2) Say thanks, announce that Lupe will be out next and get some applause. Wisely, he goes with option 2. Another “LEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW-PEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY” chant starts, much louder than the first time.
11:04 PM– Still no Lupe. DJ Broadway Streetz and his emcee are starting to worry. The DJ seems to have run out of songs to play as Wale’s “Pretty Girls” comes on for a second time. The emcee stops getting love with the whole “What side is hotter!? Right side or left!?!” routine. After 6 straight songs the DJ chooses are booed to oblivion, he throws “Bedrock” by Young Money on and goes to the side of the stage to talk with his emcee and some other guys.
11:32 PM– A “bull-shit” chant rocks the HOB, and minutes after going through the crowd and asking everyone who they paid to see, a pissed off Lupe fan (that’s been waiting for 4 hours with the rest of us already), climbs past security onto the stage. He runs up to the vacant DJ stand (Broadway is still on the side of the stage) and grabs the mic before anyone notices. Before he figures out how to use the mic though, he is tackled and escorted out by 3 security guards. Fans start throwing empty water bottles, half full beer cans (one by a guy named Oscar standing directly to my right, which hits the turntable), and any type of trash they can find. The emcee comes back on stage, and tells everyone to chill, and that Lupe will arrive soon. He gets booed off stage, and HOB crew-members begin loading away Broadways equipment. Uh-Oh… Is this show really going to get cancelled?
12:03 AM– As the trash keeps coming onto the stage, an older aged man wearing a red jumpsuit grabs the mic and the best part of the night happens. “Are ya’ll crazy!? You think this shit is going to bring him out faster? You hit that mans equipment with this shit, he has to use that for other shows! Who do you guys think you are? This ain’t the suburbs! We on the southside of Chicago! We don’t play that shit around here! [He gets hit with a water bottle] Who threw that!? Who wants some? Show yourself! I’ll beat your ass in front of everyone. We on the southside!” Black Santa’s raid finally ends as his friends call him back off the stage.
12:32 AM– I am really upset at this point. As one of Lupe’s biggest fans, I would never expect something like this from him. Pissed, I tweet (hoping that he reads it and feels bad) “@lupefiasco Charge 40 dollars for your show, then proceed to be 5 hours late? Atlantic really has ruined you.” Almost on call, Lupe’s DJ arrives and begins setting up. Almost immediately, the crowd forgets about the five hour wait and there is once again a buzz in the air.
12:44 AM– Lupe opens with his single “Words I Never Said” off of Lasers. The crowd is rocking, the floor is shaking, and all is well. Some drunken moron in front of me keeps his right hand straight up for the whole song and I resist punching him. Wearing a black “Malcolm” crewneck and long camo jeans, Lupe is looking good, with noticeably longer hair than normal. After the song ends, Lupe says what up to the crowd (not once mentioning that he was sorry for being 5 hours late) and the second song begins. The techno dance party begins as “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now” plays. Surprisingly, the crowd knows all the lyrics and is jumping up and down, following Lupe all around the stage. Something is noticeably different with him; although he is jumping around during the chorus, it seems forced. He rarely smiles and when his glasses are raised, his eyes are closed. As “Out of My Head” begins to play, Lupe seems bored with the lyrics, merely getting them out with no real emphasis on anything. The crowd loves every second of the performance though. The fourth song is yet another track from Lasers, “The Show Goes On.” With the anthem-like beat and Lupe’s sick flow, it almost seems like the crowd joins hands and rejoices together. “I’m Beamin’” comes on next, with Lupe rapping verses two and three acapella. “Hip-Hop Saved My Life” is the first “old” Lupe song that comes on, but Fiasco only performs the first verse. He walks over to the DJ booth and tells the DJ what to change it to mid chorus, and “Kick, Push” blares through the speakers. Once again only a single verse is rapped, but the crowd is going nuts. “Daydreamin’” comes on next, and for the first time, Lupe seems like Lupe again. Dancing around to the beat, bobbing his head almost to the ground as he raps, the performance’s energy kicks upbeat.
1:04 AM– Oh, the show doesn’t go on. Yeah, 25 minutes. The crowd becomes an angry mob, throwing anything it can find onto the stage.
I have no idea what happened. Why the show was so short, why Lupe was so late. Fake Shore Drive tweeted “this wasn’t a real Lupe show FYI.” Well what the hell was it? The tickets should have said that this event was in fact just a joke, so people wouldn’t blow as much as $200 dollars a ticket. The morning after, I hear Lupe didn’t get paid for the performance. Whose fault is that? The HOB? Lupe’s record label, Atlantic Records? I don’t know, but I know that back in the day, Lupe would have said “Fuck it, this is Chicago” and ran on stage and gave the best show of his life. Seasons change though, and people do too. But hey, “The Show Goes On.”