The audience at the Trocadero on Saturday night was bursting with anticipation, and the crowd got what they were waiting for as Black Eyed Peas (BEP) walked on stage.
BEP is a trio full of diversity, intense rhyming skills, and boundless energy. Their hip-hop, jungle, and reggae beats are electric. Singer Taboo reached his hands out to the audience at one point, pulling in on their vibes while the DJ provided the sound effect of an electrical current.
“Are we in Arkansas? No. Are we in LA? No. We’re in Philadelphia!” shouted Taboo, reminding everyone how enthralled BEP was to be in the home of Jill Scott, the Roots, and many other talented performers.
BEP kept going for nearly an hour and a half, with a full band and DJ, but without very many pauses. Starting off with “Bringing it Back,” they rhymed their way through to the hits, “Joints and Jam,” and “Clap Your Hands,” off their ’98 debut album. Crowd-pleasers included “Request Line” off their current album Bridging The Gap, and even some Spanish rapping by Taboo, who is of Hispanic and Native American descent. Original material combined with samplings of Debbie Deb provided some familiar sounds for those unfamiliar with BEP’s repertoire.
Before the show lead rapper Will needed a power nap to get ready. It soon became clear why he needed his rest. Will contorted his body, momentarily suspending half his frame in mid-air, as the members took turns doing freeze rock. Not only were his swift moves worthy of awe, so was his bravery, as Will climbed the balcony and jumped into the crowd at the conclusion of the show.
With three members attending to different parts of the audience, BEP played the crowd well. Their unstoppable exhuberance carried into the final and most energetic performance of the night, “Weekend,” which had the crowd jumping and singing along.