One Night Extravaganza: Lil Wayne & Friends

  /  12.22.2008


Lil Wayne brought his I Am Music tour to the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif. on Sunday night. He was joined by an all-star line-up including Keyshia Cole, T-Pain, Gym Class Heroes, and Keri Hilson. Gym Class Heroes took to the stage first, performing some of their biggest hits to date. Lead singer Travis McCoy joked with the crowd, “My president is black, my girlfriend’s beautiful, and you guys are sexy as fuck,” referring to his pop star other half Katy Perry.


Staying true to the title of her latest album A Different Me, Keyshia Cole showed the audience a sexier side of herself. In a flapper-inspired ensemble, Keyshia sang her heart out and danced just about every step with her dancers. The petite singer was accompanied by her artist and friend Amina, featured on the song “Shoulda Let You Go” from Cole’s previous album. Keyshia performed a few songs from her new project including “Make Me Over,” “Playa Cardz Right,” and “No Other.” The crowd erupted, and looked more like a club, when Keyshia closed with her hit, “Let It Go.”


The self-proclaimed ring leader T-Pain hit the stage, surrounded by an actual circus for his entire performance. Red and yellow tents made up the set, along with fire throwers, women on stilts, dancing dwarfs, and ballerinas. T-Pain performed snippets from the dozens of songs he’s collaborated on, as well as those from his latest release Thr33 Ringz. The “Can’t Believe It” chart-topper tricked the audience into thinking a global pop star was in the house when he said an artist with a new album titled Circus was going to join his on-stage circus. A Britney Spears track came on and a blonde dwarf clad in a red patent leather jumpsuit emerged, doing Britney-esque choreography, sending the crowd into an enormous wave of laughter and screams. T-Pain ended with his motto, which he said changes weekly so the haters don’t learn what he’s doing: “Don’t do it because it’s cool, do it because you’re cool.”


Everyone rose to their feet, and screams filled the amphitheatre when headliner Lil Wayne ran out on stage to the DJ Khaled hit “Out Here Grindin’.” The band descended and ascended from the ceiling throughout the show, while Wayne did songs from his first album, to his mixtapes, all the way up to his latest eight-time Grammy-nominated album Tha Carter III. Young Money Entertainment showcased its talent, as rappers Mack Maine, Nicki Minaj, Drake (a.k.a. Jimmy Brooks from TV’s “Degrassi”), and singer Shanell all made appearances alongside Wayne. T-Pain also came back out to join Wayne during his set, but not without first having a contest to see who was the “feature king.” After going back and forth with hit songs they’d each worked on, they decided it was a draw and performed a song as T-Wayne.


Keri Hilson joined Weezy for “Turnin’ Me On,” their collabo that’s currently taking over the airwaves. The funnier side of the New Orleans MC was on display when he exited the stage to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” And as the night came to a close, Lil Wayne came one step closer to cementing his legendary status like Ms. Houston.

–Jessica Washington


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