Published Jan 23, 2009Following two brief, adept performances from Weezy's label-mate Keri Hilson and emo-rap heartthrobs Gym Class Heroes, T-Pain unleashed a theatre of absurdity with his (perhaps unintentionally) hilarious set.
Built around an elaborate circus theme, the set included a midget stripper who sang Britney Spears, a back-up dancer with Juggalo makeup, and a whole whack of other zany antics. Still, despite the overall goofiness of his set, T-Pain delivered what the fans wanted, and proved that he has a very talented singing voice without the trademark vocoder.
Once the freak-show ended, the arena buzzed with anticipation for Weezy's set, which erupted with a massive explosion of flames. Wayne, at the height of his superstardom, owned the stage with bravado swagger and a pinch of humour. Besides playing all the hits as well as some beloved mixtape tracks, Wayne was also an unpredictable performer, at one point getting on his knees to pray for the audience and wielding a flamethrower the next.
The audience, a horde of thug-life homeboys peppered with the odd tongue-in-cheek hipster, ate it up whether they were in on the joke or not. During Wayne's costume change, the Young Money Millionaires brought a welcome change of pace when they briefly showcased some of their own tracks. Wayne himself changed it up with a slow jam whereby he not only sang, but also held an electric guitar without playing it, just like he did on the CMA Awards.
Despite sound problems with the house speakers and unfruitful banter between Wayne and T-Pain, the show was an experience in raw entertainment. When the final moments of "A Milli" finished, and Wayne came out to thank the audience, he lip-synched a clip from the '90s sitcom Martin, sang Whitney Houston's Bodyguard theme while mimicking a boxer, and reminded us that he's "the best rapper alive." And we all went home feeling incredibly entertained, but wondering what the hell just happened.