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Review: Ludacris brings good times to Blaisdell
REVIEW BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ludacris has “The Secret.”
Talent too, of course — this hip-hop star, who’s sold more than 13 million albums, is a stone pro, with an ear for clever lyrics, a winning, rapid vocal style, and a soul- and funk-based musical sense that planted a flag for music from the “Dirty South” when he broke out in a big way with “Back for the First Time” at the turn of the century.
What he’s also got, and what I think takes him over the top, is a golden, winning personality that earns him affection on stage, whether he’s singing about sex (which is mostly what he’s singing about) or having a party (which is mostly anything else he’s singing about).
At Blaisdell Arena on Saturday, Jan. 12, Ludacris gave his friend in hip-hop, Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T., the spotlight for an opening slot, while he made time to take photos with group of lucky super-fans and VIPs. With each one, he came across as friendly and cheerful. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time around other people know that takes depth of spirit.
Keeping the show mostly right on time, he then took the stage with his full band for a a solid hour of body-rocking music, playing to an enthusiastic crowd of fans.
Wearing a red T-shirt and black shorts, close-cut hair and wacky sunglasses, he sounded good, with a smile playing across his face for most of the show. He made sure to shout out Hawaii and promised to come back, and I’m guessing many in the audience would look forward to a repeat performance.
The Blaisdell wasn’t full, but it should have been — the show was raucous and entertaining enough to have played to the rafters. There was a respectable turnout, packing the floor and the first rows of the venue.
Luda had fun with the audience, urging the crowd to keep hands (or fingers) in the air. And he gave attention to his band and to his repertoire, pulling out songs from different albums across the course of his career.
For the most part, he gave us a party, as you might expect at a Ludacris show. A friend and fellow MC, who Luda said he’s known since high school, stalked the stage with him for the duration, emphasizing his lines and backing him up. It seemed especially fitting with this artist, who has embraced collaboration and winding voices on his recorded albums since the beginning.
This audience was up and dancing for the duration of the show. Those that weren’t must have had their minds elsewhere.
In between the hits, the audience was treated to the expected instrumental breakdown by the backup band, and it was funky and competent. There was also an entertaining interlude by Luda’s touring DJ, who broke down some current dancefloor hits to prove that Ludacris has been listening to what works with audiences.
He brought the boom, and my ears are ringing as I type this, so I’m not going to quote him. I’ll just say that his trademark quick-tripping wordsmithing was on display, as was his charm.
It’s something that certain people just naturally have — an attraction that puts a smile on your face and in the case of this hip-hop star, your hands in the air.