Missy Elliott Pemberton Stage, Pemberton BC, July 19

Missy Elliott Pemberton Stage, Pemberton BC, July 19
Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein
With mere minutes to go before Missy took the Pemberton Stage, the festival grounds were absolutely rammed waiting for her set to drop. A white backdrop covered the stage as a crew donning white masks and black "Missy" jerseys lined up front to back. Do you remember watching her astonishing set during this year's Superbowl halftime show? And do you remember picking your jaw up off the ground at the close of it? Take that, multiply it tenfold, and there you have her Pemberton performance.
Missy made a grand entrance, wearing a jersey emblazoned with "Supafly" and wielding a blinged-out mic, a full dance crew armed with impeccable choreography sharing the stage with her. Save for two or three tracks (big name singles like "Work It" and "Pass That Dutch") medleys, rather than full songs, comprised the set, 30-60 second snippets that gave just a taste and riled the fans before slinking into something entirely different — "The Rain" dropped into "Sock It 2 Me"; "Ching-A-Ling" rolled into Ciara's "1, 2 Step," which fell right into "Lose Control." This method worked tremendously, allowing her to showcase a range of her catalogue spanning 20 years.
With three outfit changes (including her entire dance crew, numerous times), and nearly every piece choreographed, and Missy dropping right into the crowd during "Lose Control," not to mention a surprising guest performance by protégé Sharaya J, Missy's backup singer shouting "This is not a new artist, this is an icon!!" was pretty bloody accurate.
The thousands in attendance looked on as Missy gave a shout out to those not with us, listing off the likes of Left Eye, Biggie, 2Pac, Big Pun and ODB, with Aaliyah holding steady on the screen behind, then gave an intro and some floor time to all the dancers, each one throwing down. For those who missed it — and let's hope you didn't — the festival admission was worth this show alone.