Hip-hop’s newest generation invaded the Civic Center, with B.o.B. and Lupe Fiasco hitting the stage Tuesday night.
Opening with “Airplanes,” B.o.B. commanded the stage, just him and an obnoxious DJ in the corner, yelling out obligatory DJ-like things. It wasn’t until he went acapella on his song “Generation Lost” that the crowd got into it, cheering him on as if he was in a rap battle.
As the concert went on, his musical talent seemed to grow, picking up both electric and acoustic guitars during the rest of his set. Though the audience lost some interest when he slowed things down, his sound stayed strong, putting on an inspiring show.
B.o.B. pulled out a bar-worthy pickup line before his hit song “Nothin’ on You,” asking for the lights to be turned on because he thought he saw some … and then the song’s opening line, “Beautiful girls” started.
Smooth, B.o.B. Real smooth.
Once his stage was set, completed with an ’80s-ish background, roaring lion and all, Lupe opened the show with “Shining Down.”
At the start of Lupe’s concert, he seemed slow and disconnected, and the audience didn’t have much to feed off of. Lupe halted the show, the stage went dark and the crowd burst into chants of “Lupe! Lupe!” The reason for the stoppage was the audience’s energy, and Lupe blamed them for his low-key attitude.
He obviously didn’t see the girls in front of me, though, grinding on each other and screaming through all his lyrics. After a few Midwest shout-outs, the crowd was riled up, and he started his set from the beginning.
Whether out of fear or true feeling, the crowd never lost it again. Neither did Lupe, who played his concert with passion and heart.
Though at the moment it’s arguable that B.o.B. is bigger than Lupe is, Lupe made his headlining presence known. His rhymes flowed harmoniously over the guitar-driven beats, stopping many times to acknowledge and air guitar with his guitarist.
Playing his songs like “Hip-Hop Saved My Life,” “I Gotcha” and “Kick, Push,” Lupe had the audience in the palm of his hand. He always kept them on their toes, checking their pulse during “Go Go Gadget Flow” and making sure they knew the words to “Superstar.”
Lupe responded to the fans pleading, performing an encore of “Paris, Tokyo” and “Daydreamin,” playfully bantering with audience members when pressured about the release of his new album.
He also proved to be a generous host, taking time to plug B.o.B.’s album, “The Adventures of Bobby Ray,” which drops Tuesday.
Even with different sets, B.o.B. and Lupe had some concert stunts in common.
Both stars liked to dump water on unsuspecting victims, which might seem cool to them but is not always appreciated by a soaking audience. A much more loving gesture, however, was when they brought some energized female fans on to the stage.
B.o.B. serenaded a girl with his song, “Lovelier than You,” sitting her down on a stool and occasionally holding her hand and grinding on her. Lupe pulled up a girl rocking a “Mrs. Fiasco” shirt in the beginning of the concert and allowing her to sit up there the entire time, eventually letting her friends, “Lupe’s dirty mistress” and “Lupe convert” come up, too.
At the end, Mrs. Fiasco went home with the sweat-soaked shirt off Lupe’s back, her friends went home with some cash and the rest of the audience left with a greater appreciation for both of the talented lyricists.