Perhaps some pre-show time with Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings put Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco in a feisty mood, as the MC got out of his car with a limp in the back of the Harley-Davidson stage, but performed with exhaustive energy for 90 minutes on the opening night of Summerfest.
Fiasco played songs from all three of his studio releases – "Food & Liquor," "The Cool" and "Lasers" – and only teased the crowd with singles off his upcoming "Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album."
Late in the show, he asked the crowd which song they wanted of the two, and as the crowd roared at each mention, he instead broke into "Superstar," his hit off "The Cool."
The MC seemed to feed off the crowd's energy as the show went on – especially once early sound problems were rectified – as they took care of the hooks for the songs that needed it. He smiled frequently, with none bigger than the one he wore as the predominantly Caucasian audience drowned out the bass as soon as the beat for "All Black Everything" started.
"Sometimes we only see what's on the surface," he said to the crowd after the song. "Sometimes we only see a color. We don't see what's in here."
He then pounded his chest to heavy applause.
Some highlights in the show included his verse on Kanye West's "Touch the Sky", a cameo on West's 2006 release "Late Registration" that introduced Fiasco to the world prior to "Food & Liquor's" release.
He and his live band brought a rock energy to "Kick, Push," "Out Of My Head" and "Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways)," which most likely included the best guitar solo of the night anywhere on Summerfest grounds.
Fiasco, playing his third Summerfest, often interacted with the crowd to give himself a breather, but late in the show, someone who tossed a New York Knicks hat on the stage created the strongest Fiasco-Milwaukee bond of the night.
"Who's hat is this?" he shouted.
Incredibly, someone claimed it stage right, so he set the hat on a speaker and turned his attention there. "We have no love for the Knicks here. No love, my man."
As he peeled off his sweat soaked striped tank top, someone tossed a Brewers hat to him, which he put on briefly before retrieving a Jennings jersey from off stage.
"Midwest, man," he said as the crowd exploded. "We don't f*** with the Knicks like that. Tell 'em I said it."
Fiasco played off the roar into "Daydreamin,'" his Grammy-winning hit off of "Food & Liquor."
Oddly, he played the fast paced "I don't Wanna Care Right Now" twice – as the show's third song and then as its closer – but true to the title, no one seemed to care. In fact, it was received far better and with more energy than before.
Despite the pleading from the crowd to break into the two singles off his upcoming album, Fiasco avoided new material and played every hit off his first two records and nearly every track off "Lasers."
You couldn't ask for more as a music fan, as the band and Fiasco's vocals were sharp. His lyrics will make you think, but he proved that even thoughtful songs – and fans – can bring the house down.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jim Owczarski
Published Dec. 12, 2013
While Corey Hart isn't truly the last piece that remains of the most successful stretch of Brewers baseball since the early 1980s, his departure does feel like it marks the end of one era of homegrown talent that from 2005 through 2013 went 739-719 with one division championship, two playoff appearances and one trip to the National League Championship.
Published Dec. 12, 2013
The start of Eddie Lacy's career wasn't exactly picture-perfect. There was the fumble and benching in week one. There was the concussion in week two. But he's learned from those experiences to become a workhorse for the Green Bay Packers.
Published Dec. 11, 2013
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers are off to the program's best start since the 2002-03 season thanks to impressive wins over quality non-conference opponents from the Missouri Valley and Southern conferences. But tonight they head to Madison to face Bo Ryan and his undefeated Badgers, the No. 4 team in the country.
Published Dec. 10, 2013
After a rough start to 2013, which included a couple of trips from Milwaukee back to the minor leagues, Tyler Thornburg admitted he lost focus. He regained it at the end of the year to make seven excellent starts, and he hopes that has earned him a shot at the 2014 Brewers rotation.
Published Dec. 8, 2013
The Green Bay Packers edged out the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 Sunday at Lambeau Field, keeping their playoff hopes alive. It was an excellent performance by the much-maligned defense, which held Falcons Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan to just two offensive touchdowns.
Published Dec. 6, 2013
Professional sports have been, and will always be, a young person's game. No one beats Father Time one-on-one, not even the all-time greats. But Nick Vorberg, who will turn 39 in February, is at least playing him to a draw in goal for the Milwaukee Wave.
Published Dec. 5, 2013
Despite the fact that the quarter pole is approaching in the 2013-14 NBA season, it's impossible to make any judgments on this Milwaukee Bucks team.There have been too many injuries and lineup changes to do so, but that also means that, as the offense struggles, the margin for winning is very slim.
Published Dec. 4, 2013
Brandon Jennings returned to Milwaukee for the first time since being traded to the Detroit Pistons. It was an anticlimactic experience for all involved.
Published Dec. 4, 2013
Following an eight-win season last year, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers have started the 2013-14 season 7-2 thanks to a group of new players who have quickly found chemistry with existing starters.
Published Dec. 3, 2013
By the end of the 2013 season, Jim Henderson was closing games for the Milwaukee Brewers. It was an unexpected turn of events for the hard-throwing right-hander, but he is preparing for bigger things in 2014.