Chris Brown and a host of other Hot Boys (some literally) took the stage Sunday, September 17, at Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island . An outstanding number of attendees braved the rainy weather to watch some of music's finest rap and R&B stars all together on one impressive bill. Chris was the headliner for this Up Close and Personal tour, but the talented teen wasn't the only reason women lined the aisles of the 8000-capacity venue. Relative rookie, but not letting it show one bit, Ne-Yo brought a lot of bling and plenty of sex-appeal with his appearance; and rap music also ran the stage with acts Lil Wayne, Juelz Santana and Dem Franchize Boyz. The extravaganza definitely provided a treat to concert goers with a remarkable roster.
Though the ladies were representing for their favorite male vocalists, they were also excited to see a special appearance by Capitol Records sisters Cherish. The girls kicked off the night's entertainment with their energetic dance moves and the crowd went wild with excitement. Once they got the crowd jumping, Cherish slowed it down with their song "Unappreciated," before picking things back up with the familiar "Do It To It." Though a little green with their dance steps, the girls demonstrated unstoppable vocals and had fans singing along with them by the time they were finished.
Juelz Santana was the first male act to take the hearts of the crowd. Dressing up his clean-cut, baby-faced look with a hard-edge image that showed his truly unique style, Juelz flashed his pearly whites and his mass amounts of "ice." Not only was his comfort with the crowd noted, but their satisfaction with him was evident as he launched a dance party with his hit, "Clock Work." He continued to keep the masses intrigued with his performance of "Oh Yes," and barked more of his familiar "aye's" throughout "There It Go," eventually leaving the stage with plenty of shout-outs to his crew, Dip Set.
The energy level of everyone in attendance hit a peak when Dem Franchize Boyz (rolling nine deep with their dancers) took the stage in their signature white T's. "Oh I Think They Like Me," launched amazing moves of the onstage members, which in turn inspired the audience to show their skills, too. Crowding the aisles, dancers were down to show their stuff while bouncing to the beats of the Boyz. Leaving us after "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It," the crowd was ready for even more.
The non-stop entertainment continued with Lil Wayne. A veteran on the microphone, his expertise in handling the desires of listeners was evident. The New Orleans native's professional approach and his laid back look made his show even more interesting. Wayne quenched the crowd's thirst for the Lil Weezy sound with his first song, "Fireman," and added some extra smoothness with his velvet-voiced lyrics on "Hustler Musik." The performer continued to turn up the sex-appeal of his act as he dropped his dred locs out of their ponytail, took off his sweatshirt to expose his all-over tattoos and shed his shades onto the stage. He hit music lovers with a medley of Hot Boys songs including, "The Block Is Hot," and "I Need A Hot Girl." Sharing one more surprise with the already satisfied fans, Birdman then accompanied Lil Wayne on stage as they performed their collaboration "Stuntin' Like My Daddy." Lil Wayne left us then, not only with "Money On My Mind," but with admiration in our hearts.
By this time, the crowd was ready to sway with the smooth sounds of Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. First up was the In My Own Words songwriter Ne-Yo. The song man entered from the floor and as he rose to the level where all eyes were on him, he shone under the light in all black with a large gleaming treble clef across his chest. He started with the song "Stay" as he showcased his ability to dance with the best of them. Ne-Yo's female dancers added to the energy on stage and even played their part as they reenacted the situation in "When You're Mad." Two of the talented dancers fought over Ne-Yo as he belted out his flirtatious verses. His ability to command the crowds attention was apparent as he performed a multitude of scores from his debut album, including "So Sick," "Sexy Love" and "Time," which he pulled an audience participant for. Ne-Yo also hit the music lovers with Mario's "Let Me Love You," which he is known for co-writing.
The time had come to give the younger crowd what they came for as Chris Brown rose from the floor in the same fashion as the previous performer. The galactic entrance included purple lights surrounding a suited-in-white Chris. He was joined on stage by Lil Wayne to sing "Gimme That," recreating the video's surroundings with male dancers costumed like movie - gangsters and women dressed as flappers. The singer looked freshly lined and clean-cut, his clothing and belt buckle gleaming under the stage lights. Then, taking a moment alone with his fans, Chris sang, "Just Fine" and "Ain't No Way" sans dancers. His liveliness building with the crowd's response to his abilities, Chris then took a bold step in impersonating Michael Jackson. Wearing a silver glove and a hat, the crooner provided the watchers with his version of the famed moonwalk and a Michael-inspired medley.
After a few wardrobe changes, and a dance-off, during which the 17-year-old heartthrob tore off his tank top, the crowd was begging for more. Reluctantly, the females left the pavillion in a daze with the lyrics of Chris Brown's "Thank You" in their heads. The highlights of the performance included the Chris and Juelz Santana collaboration, "Run It!"
Overall, fans got a run for their money. The talent that graced the stage that Sunday night was more than satisfying and the comedian, Brandon T. Jackson, performed between acts made for a smooth, snag-free show with no wait-times. The rap, R&B, and hip-hop lover in me was able to indulge in all my music pleasures during this particularly talent-packed night. And the bonus
the same songs heard live played as some of the hottest radio hits all the way home allowing the fans stuck in traffic to relive the night.