Every time I attend a concert, I try to judge the event not on the quality of the musician’s catalogue, but on the actual performance they give. Sometimes, I find myself disappointed, witnessing one of my favorite bands remain stoic and emotionless on stage, appearing to do little more than run out the clock. On occasion, however, I’m shocked to find a musician, who’s work I possessed very little respect for, previously, completely capture an audience. T-Pain was a wonderful example of just such a phenomenon. Say what you will about his music – after all, taste is subjective – but the man truly knows how to put on a show, and leave a crowd craving more.
Going in with low expectations is usually a sure fire way to leave any show impressed and my expectations could not have been lower for T-Pain. From the moment he took the stage, however, I knew I was going to be leaving pleasantly surprised. You could see the passion T-Pain had for performing splattered across the stage, from his full backing band, The Electric Company, to an additional vocalist and singers. He could have easily stood up there, alone with a DJ and done the bare minimum, but instead the audience was treated to instrumental interludes during brief lulls as well as crisp production bolstered by live instrumentation.
Even tracks he only featured on originally, or had nothing to do with at all, sounded superb thanks to excellent transitions. Though T-Pain’s portion of the Kanye West hit “The Good Life” was brief, it managed to refrain from sounding fragmented or clumsy thanks to the DJ’s impressive skills. However, that isn’t to say the DJ was spotless, by any means. If I had one major complaint during the evening, it would have to be that the DJ overused certain sound effects such as gun shots or glass breaking. Sprinkled in to a show, they can easily be utilized to add the necessary punctuation to the end of a song, but frequent use leaves it feeling stale and irritating, rather quickly.
A DJ was not the reason anyone came to see the show, however. T-Pain was the star of the evening and he owned that status well. From the bravado and swagger in his steps to the high energy he possessed, T-Pain knew that if he wasn’t having fun, there was no way the crowd was going to have any either. It might have been nicer to see him give a little more audience interaction, but what he did provide was one amazing performance that really showed how much passion can carry any concert.