If the rappers performing onstage looked up at the upper section of the Liacouras Center Saturday, they did not see many people looking back. Despite the empty seats and the weak sound system, the energetic performances of Nelly, Fat Joe, T.I., Murphy Lee and the St. Lunatics still went on.
Rapper T.I. got the crowd up with “Rubber Band Man” and “24’s.” From the start, the audience was on its feet and singing along. While reaching toward the extended hands of the fans in front, T.I. told the crowd to back up and keep their hands away from him. It was soon apparent that this remark was made to lead into one of his newest songs, “U Don’t Know Me.”
T.I. continued with other songs from Urban Legend, including the Liacouras Center’s well-known “Bring Em Out.” In the midst of his strong performance, T.I. made a call out to jailed Philadelphia rapper Beanie Sigel.
Once the stage was cleared, Fat Joe and the Terror Squad made their way out. Joe quickly went into his popular new song “So Much More.” He excited the crowd by proclaiming his love for Philly numerous times. Ironically, he next rapped “New York.” Fat Joe also performed “Take Me Home” and “What’s Luv?” letting the females sing much of the choruses. He, along with the Terror Squad, not only performed their most recognized song “Lean Back,” but Joe made sure to rap his part from the remix before leaving the stage.
Like T.I., Fat Joe also made shout outs, but his were to deceased rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. Also like T.I., Fat Joe and the Terror Squad succeeded in getting much of the audience on their feet during the group’s lively performance.
Nelly, the man who headlined the tour, made his way onstage next to the first song from his Sweat album. He performed songs from his newest albums, and then soon went into “E.I.,” one of his most famous songs from his debut album Country Grammar. Nelly next asked the girls to get ready to “get their eagle on” before he went into “Flap Your Wings,” a popular dance beat from Sweat.
After the performance of “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” Murphy Lee gave a vigorous performance of “What da Hook Gon Be” and “Luv Me Baby” from his album Murphy’s Law.
When Nelly performed his arguably most renowned song “Hot in Herre,” there were more people dancing in the Liacouras Center than at any other point of the night. Getting the audience even more involved, Nelly selected eight ecstatic females from the crowd to go up on stage. One of them got to stand next to Nelly while he sang “My Place” from his Suit album. He continued by singing the lighter beats of “Play it Off” and “Dilemma” and then followed it up with the popular “Ride Wit Me.”
Before ending his vibrant performance and the whole concert, Nelly performed “Na-Nana-Na,” which includes the line “Can we leave herre?”
Prior to the big-name rappers, several groups from Nelly’s Derrty Ent. Label tried to wake up the audience. Some of the members of the crowd were impatient because they wanted to see the famous rappers, but others showed their appreciation for the up and coming artists. One of the groups showed their creativity by rapping a “Derrty E-N-T, we all we got” rap to Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it Like it’s Hot.”
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at The.Jeff@temple.edu.