In a world of annoyingly catchy radio hits, but little quality albums and overused synthesizers, sometimes you need to hear the real thing. Despite a year of declining album sales, good old fashioned touring is still in style. Yes, you can easily go to You Tube and watch snippets of your favorite artist performing, but nothing compares to the feeling of seeing and hearing it live.
There were many acts to choose from, but a few of us avid concert goers at AllHipHop Alternatives got together to list our favorite concerts of the year. From New York to London, we chose both big and small concerts where these artists took us out of our writer uniforms and made us happy to be music fans.
Lollapalooza- Grant Park, Chicago
August 3-5, 2007
In the dead of summer, trekking to a park full of thousands of fans and running from one side of it to another doesnt sound very appealing. But when its Lollapalooza, its worth it! The three-day concert was held at Chicagos Grant Park in the midst of almost 90-degree heat. Artists included The Roots, Paolo Nutini, Pearl Jam, and Lupe Fiasco.
Among my favorite performances was Amy Winehouse. Watching her slyly sing the lyrics to songs off her American debut album Black to Black was unforgettable. Though Winehouse was clearly over it (the performance and perhaps even the fame) she belted out soulful notes so easily that it looked she was talking. Wearing thick black eyeliner, her signature bouffant hairdo and looking thinner than ever before, Winehouse completed her set by walking off-stage unannounced. The audience was left a little confused, but judging by her recent performances and cancellations this was tame. Latifah Muhammad
Keyshia Cole/ J Holiday- Nokia Theater, New York
August 19, 2007
Keyshia Cole is dope. You know this. Accept it. Her concert at the Nokia Theater was an appetizer leading up to her sophomore album release Just Like You, but you wouldnt know the difference. Cole sang nearly every song from her debut The Way It Is, and the crowd followed behind her every move. Since Nokia Theater is such an intimate setting, the audience could not only see Cole clearly, but connect with her performance. Even during an awkward dance number, she bounced back.
J. Holiday wasnt so bad himself getting ladies in that slow jam mood performing his hit Bed and a few other singles from his debut album Back of My Lac. Its nice to see that R&B still going strong. Latifah Muhammad
The Beyoncé Experience: Chicago Style
August 18, 2007
You never know what to expect when Beyoncé hits the stage, but the odds are her performance will bring forth something unique and one of a kind. While performing in Chicago for two hours and transitioning through several set and wardrobe changes alongside her all female band Suga Mama, Beyoncé displayed her ability to sing, dance, and entertain while making a keen connection with the audience. Of all the songs Beyoncé sang, the most memorable performance was when she introduced Irreplaceable and asked that the audience sing along. It was then that I realized that Irreplaceable is a song recognized whole heartily by many because Beyoncé didnt have to sing a word; the audience sang it for her. In all, seeing Beyoncé perform live was an experience beyond exceptional. Nia B
Alice Smith- Mercury Lounge New York City
November 6, 2007
If you havent heard of Alice Smith, youre missing out. The Georgia born, artist is a hybrid of old-school soul mixed with alternative-funk flavor. Performing songs from her debut album For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, Alice hit the stage looking like she belonged on a fashion runway. But dont let her beauty fool you; her musical talent was so powerful it was surreal. Drop dead good looks and a coy smile quickly took a backseat once she opened her mouth to sing. Performing to a sold-out crowd behind a live band, at the dimly lit Mercury Lounge, Alices performance quickly convinced me that she is an underrated extreme talent.
Honorable Rap Mentions
Kanye West Benefit Concert: House of Blues (Chicago)
August 24, 2007
The Kanye West Benefit Concert at The House of Blues in Chicago was an evening to remember. It was the last time I got to see Dr. Donda West and Kanye together both very happy, smiling raising money and awareness for their Loop Dreams Foundation. Even though the actual concert didnt get started until about
11:15PM when doors opened at 8PM, I will say the time I waited was well worth it, but I cant say I felt the same way on the actual day. I actually contemplated leaving the concert because Kanye took so long to grace the stage, but now when I reflect back, Im glad that I stayed.
Being able to see Kanye perform songs from his catalog and latest album Graduation alongside an orchestra and DJ was simply priceless. From the flashing lights to the special appearance from Mos Def, the show was incredible. If youve ever seen Kanye perform you know how passionate he is about being on stage.
Overall it was a party with a purpose, and I will always cherish the moment. After interviewing Dr. Donda West back in May of this year for AHH, she became very dear to me reminding me of my own mother. To have this concert be the last time I saw her and Kanye together will always be a memory I cherish. I mark this event as one of my favorite concerts of all time. Nia B
J.A.M. Awards & Concert: A Tribute to Jam Master Jay- The Hammerstein Ballroom- New York City
November 29, 2007
This concert was classic. Held in the memory of Jam Master Jay, Rev Run and DMC in honor or Jay. EPMD hit the stage for a performance to go down in Hip Hop history; preluding M.O.P.s performance of Ante-Up which never fails to get the crowd amped. Though it was mostly standing room, once the crowd got hyped it really didnt matter. Surprisingly one of the best performances of the night came at the hands of Snoop. Who wouldve thought that one of the youngest performers could hit the stage and move the crowd both covering Run DMC songs and his own? Snoop capped it all off with Drop Its Like Its Hot. Theres nothing like hearing one of The Neptunes doper beats in a stadium. It doesnt get any better. Latifah Muhammad
Jay-Zs American Gangster Tour: House of Blues (Chicago)
November 7, 2007
Scoring a ticket to see Jay-Z on his American Gangster Tour was a serious challenge for Chicago fans. The show sold out in eight seconds!
Jay-Z touched down in Chicago along with a live band, DJ Green Lantern, and his Roc-A-Fella family. Performing songs from his latest album American Gangster and other hit classics, Chicago embraced Hov and showed him mad love. Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Beanie Siegel, and Kanye West were all in the house to end the show with the hit single Roc Boys. The last time I saw Jay-Z perform in Chicago, he was on tour with R. Kelly and we all know how that turned out, so it was great to have him back in the Windy City this time with Kanye and under much better circumstances. Nia B