Thousands of concert-goers gathered on this past Saturday’s humid night at Steiner Studios for the Bacardi B Live concert. The triple-threat musical collaboration consisted of Calle 13, Talib Kweli, and Sean Paul.
Attendees experienced close to a three-hour waiting period until they were accepted into the event. The test of patience was well worth it. Red, yellow, and white lights illuminated the walkway towards the white tents that displayed the sponsor’s logo. Two buildings beside the huge stage were used as interactive billboards glimmering with the artists’ names. With all that glitter, the inevitable was bound to occur: star performances.
Latin Grammy Award-winner Calle 13 took the stage first. The Reggaeton duo started the night off with their popular song “Atrevete-te,” which means “dare to do it.” Ren Prez Joglar, the main vocalist, did just that, by performing without his shirt. J
Joglar called 10 random women onstage to showcase their dancing skills. Spanish female rapper La Mala Rodriguez joined the group onstage for their song “El Tango del Pecado.” The group provided catchy and creative songs while maintaining great audience interaction.
Intermission between acts was led by the producer phenomenon DJ Mark Ronson. He entertained the crowd by mixing new-school and old-school flavor. First, to keep hip-hop’s latest ongoing battle alive, he let the songs speak for themselves. Ronson played “Gold Digger” by Kanye West vs. “In the Club” by 50 Cent, and “Stronger” vs. “Hate it or Love it.” He then transformed the night into the 80’s, with a variety of Michael Jackson hits such as “Billy Jean” and “Beat it.”
By the looks of the crowd at this time, they were ready for the one whom Jay-Z and 50 Cent both call one of their favorite rappers: Talib Kweli. Out of the corner of the stage came a man of small stature and great sophistication. Wearing a red button-down shirt, jeans, and a black hat, Kweli opened with a freestyle in dedication to the borough he calls home: Brooklyn. His performance was hip hop at its. His advanced lyricism created a unified crowd reaction; the audience swayed their hands in the air to his hit “I Try.” The crowd came alive as they sang to the conscious hustler’s anthem, “Get By.” Some even broke out in B-boy battles, break dancing to Nas’s “Made you Look,” and Audio Two’s “Top Billin,” in which Kweli rapped over with his own lyrics. Although some of his songs were short, he pleased the crowd with “Definition” and “Get ’em High.” The night wouldn’t have been complete without songs from his latest album, Ear Drum, such as “Hot Thing” and “Say Something.”
The anticipation only grew stronger for the last performer, the dancehall reggae king himself, Sean Paul. DJ Mark Ronson described it perfectly when he took center stage spotlight.
“I saw the crowd, and I had to party,” said Ronson. Simultaneously, the speakers started thumping with various dancehall songs, including Ronson’s own remix with Amy Winehouse, “Rehab,” featuring Jay-Z.
10:41 p.m meant show time. In the stands, no one was sitting down and shirts twirled in the air, while four background dancers marched with Sean Paul on stage. He kept the heat of the night flaming with “Break Up” and “Give it Up to Me.” The party songs came fast and furious, with some of his first hits such as “Like Glue,” “We Be Burnin” “Gimme the Light,” and “I’m Still in Love with You.” What was interesting about the performance was the electric guitar played live by a lead guitarist, which added an eclectic twist to his songs.
Sean Paul rounded up the night with more songs than the other two artists, and although he kept the party alive, the crowd became restless after his eighth song. Slowly the crowd dissipated, and the reggae king showcased his final choreographed routine.
Midnight struck and a night of fun and live entertainment was over. Even though the wait at the beginning was excruciating, the pain was reconciled and memories were filled with the power of great music.