Arco Arena

Lil Wayne’s ‘America’s Most Wanted Tour’ hits Sleep Train Arena

Lil Wayne Click for more images

Lil Wayne
Click for more images

SACRAMENTO, CA – Lil Wayne’s ‘America’s Most Wanted Tour’ hit Sacramento as Wayne and his posse descended upon Sleep Train Arena (aka Arco Arena).

Now when we say hit Sacramento, any Lil Wayne fan knows what we mean by that, and if you were there, you definitely know what we mean by that – just saying.

On the evenings menu was Lil Wayne’s hand-picked group of rappers T.I., 2 Chainz, Hit Boy, Adrien Broner and G-Eazy.

Oakland’s own Gerald Earl Gillum, better known to fans as G-Eazy kicked it off with his obscenity laced rap as he worked the few fans that had arrived for the 7 p.m. start time. G-Eazy did a decent job of getting the crowd on their feet, but many fans were streaming in and searching for their seats.

G-Eazy

G-Eazy

Boxer turned rapper, Adrien Broner, took the stage with Band Camp, leaving little doubt that Broner has his eyes set on moving up in the ranks of rap music and possibly leaving his boxing career on the mat.

Rapper Chauncey Hollis better known as Hit-Boy followed Broner. Their positions in the line-up should have been reversed, or better yet he should have opened the show, as he was more miss than hit. The crowd just didn’t seem to get into it with Hit-Boy, but that could have been that fans were anticipating the meat of the show with T.I., 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne.

Hit-Boy

Hit-Boy

As things started heating up, Sleep Train Arena started filling up, but never quite reached capacity, with the upper deck pretty empty.

Tauheed Epps also known as 2 Chainz lit up the stage with a huge replica of the front of a yacht with the words B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time making a play on his new album of the same name due out in September.

Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner

The controversial rapper has found himself on both sides of the law over the last couple of months. In San Francisco he was robbed while outside of a pot dispensary and a couple of days later found himself getting hauled off a plane after checking baggage that contained marijuana and promethazine.

2 Chainz

2 Chainz

Promethazine is the key ingredient used for making ‘sizzurp’ a dangerously potent drug popularized in the southern rap scene. Several months ago Lil Wayne was rumored to be on his deathbed after bingeing on sizzurp, but those rumors were never proven to be true.

2 Chainz

2 Chainz

Read: 2 Chains pulled off plane

After years spent recording as a part of hip-hop duo Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz has gained notoriety and has seen major success in the last year. “It’s surprising when people ask to take my picture at the airport,” 2 Chainz told the Huffington Post. We think he may be confused with getting his mug shot.

T.I.

T.I.

2 Chainz brought his A-game and, here again, we believe there was a mistake in the line-up. 2 Chainz should have been second to Lil Wayne rather than T.I. While the both did a fantastic job, 2 Chainz’s performance was more polished and the set more dramatic than T.I.’s.\

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T.I. turned in a lack-luster performance even though he performed some of his hits such as “Top Back,” “Rubber Band Man” and “U Don’t Know Me.” His choice of songs was questionable as he went from past hits to more recent material, leaving his better material on the cutting room floor.

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne

By the time Lil Wayne took the stage, fans were well into the munchies after enduring a twenty minute set-change in between acts.

When Weezy took the stage he was flanked by skate ramps, complete with skaters and a pair of catwalks jutting out to the front of the crowd. Pyrotechnics ruled the night along with huge video screens flashing a hybrid butterfly in the likeness of Wayne, which was Lil Wayne’s own play on his new album I Am Not a Human Being 2.

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne

With Wayne shooting lyrics in rapid-fire fashion, the crowd couldn’t help but get into the moment as he hit fans with hits such as “No Worries.” Wayne also ran into trouble as he condensed some of his bigger hits in favor of full versions of his more recent work like “Love Me” and Karate Chop.”

While fans really appreciated and totally rocked out to Lil Wayne’s set I believe the currently controversial 2 Chainz may have been better off head-lining the show. Not to take away from Lil Wayne’s star power and fan attraction, but at the end of the day 2 Chainz had a bit more energy and a bit more polish.


American Idol Live Tour arrives in Sacramento

The girls perform

The girls perform
Click for more images

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Monday night the top 11 contestants of “American Idol” season 12 swooped into town to entertain fans of all ages at Sleep Train arena (Arco Arena, Power Balance Pavilion).

The struggling talent show recently aired its 12th season and sent the top 11 contestants on tour. Sacramento was their third of 30 stops, so their just getting warmed up – and it showed.

Idol winner Candice Glover

Idol winner Candice Glover

The 12th season of ‘American Idol’ saw a huge drop in ratings and at one point during the season a rerun of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” embarrassingly bested ‘Idol’ in ratings. This season also saw the worst selection of “guys” than any other season prior, with the “girls” fairing only a little better.

And it appears the television ratings curse of season 12 is haunting the Idol tour, as reports are the first two shows in Kent, WA and Portland, OR had less than stellar ticket sales. Sleep Train Arena looked like it fared a bit better, but definitely not a sellout crowd.

 

Kree Harrison

Kree Harrison

Read: ‘American Idol’ season 11 where are they now

“American Idol Live” 2013 was what one would expect from a season of poor vocals and lack-luster showmanship. There were some idol moments, but far and few between. It wasn’t entirely the contestants fault either as lights, song arrangements and choreography played a role in this yawn fest.

The fast-paced show consisted of the usual mix of group numbers and solos. Most of the group numbers were choreographed to a watered down step routine that anyone could perform with a few hand gestures and some swaying of the hips, yet most contestants looked uncomfortable and out of place on stage. There were a few exceptions, with Kree Harrison, Angie Miller and Janelle Arthur looking like they belonged on stage with grins from start to finish.

Angie Miller

Angie Miller

From the beginning it was difficult for the audience to get engaged. As contestants shouted out to the audience, “raise your hands” or “get on your feet” the results were the same – yawn.

More photos from American Idol Live Tour 2013

Janelle Arthor

Janelle Arthur

As the show progressed, the light show became bothersome as many times audience members would be blinded by brilliant bright white lights, blinding the few who were actually enjoying the show.

Music selection wasn’t a problem. Hits from Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake made it on the set-list, but the execution had much to be desired as songs were changed up for group or solo performances, losing the songs emotional impact.

Not all was lost. Here are some of the more standout performances:

Amber Holcomb

Amber Holcomb

Devin Velez performed “Impossible,” showing the audience he can command the stage, a stark contrast from his stint on season 12.

Photos from American Idol Live Tour 2012

Kree Harrison did a fantastic job on Alabama Shake’s “Hold On.”

Idol winner Candice Glover’s pure vocals came out on The Cure’s “Lovesong.”

Aubrey Cleland did a great job with Beyoncé’s hit “Sweet Dreams.” Her sparkling pink dress didn’t hurt either.

Aubrey Cleland

Aubrey Cleland

Angie Miller did fantastic job behind the piano with “You Set Me Free.” No surprise there.

As a reminder the top 10 contestants were:

Winner: Candice Glover
2nd place: Kree Harrison
3rd place: Angie Miller
4th place: Amber Holcomb
5th place: Janelle Arthur
6th place: Lazaro Arbos
7th place: Burnell Taylor
8th place: Devin Velez
9th place: Paul Jolley
10th place: Curtis Finch Jr.
Fan Favorite:  Aubrey Cleland

Photo credit: Randy Miramontez

Rick Ross brings his posse to Sleep Train Arena

Rick Ross (Rozay) – Click for more images

Rick Ross brought his MMG Tour to Sleep Train Arena on Saturday.

This is Rozay’s (Ross’s nickname) first headlining tour as he brought a supporting cast of characters including, Meek Mill (Robert Williams), Wale (Oluboware Victor Akintimehen), Omarion (Omari Ishmael Grandberry), and Machine Gun Kelly (Richard Colson Baker).

Opening the show was MGK storming the stage and daring the fans to have fun as he dove into the crowd on several occasions. Pro-skateboarder Ryan Sheckler was in attendance for MGK’s show and was invited backstage after his performance.

Machine Gun Kelly – Click for more images

While Rozay and crew put on a great show, MGK is the real story. Bringing his high energy and lightning fast rap, which earned him the nick name Machine Gun Kelly, this kid stole the show. If anyone in attendance didn’t know him before the show, they certainly knew who he was after the show.

Following MGK was Omarion. He was met with a lukewarm reception, which may have been because he was following a blistering performance by MGK. I don’t believe Omarion brought his A-game and luckily only played a brief set.

Omarion – Click for more images

 

 

I thought it was strange as each performer was represented by a cardboard cutout with their name displayed on it, which was being held by a couple of stage-hands. As if the audience needed to be reminded who was onstage. Not sure what that was about.

Wale followed Omarion and was met with cheers and screams. Wale won the crowd over and had fans on their feet. Wale also performed a pretty brief set, saving some time for the big man Rozay.

Meek Mill – Click for more images

Meek Mill followed Wale with “Racked Up Shawty” and “Young & Gettin’ It”  as the crowd started getting more intense and loud. Was it Wale’s performance, or the wildly good California weed?

When Rozay took the stage it could have been independence day as fireworks were going off all around. The ruler and king of MMG ripped through his hit’s including “Hustlin’ ” and “I’m Not A Star.”

Wale – Click for more images

Following Rozay’s lengthy solo set, Wale and Mill joined Rozay onstage to perform a number of songs including “Bag Of Money” and “Tats On My Arm.”

Rozay has put together quite a line-up for his first headlining tour and made a brilliant decision to include Machine Gun Kelly. I’m looking forward to seeing bigger and better things from MGK, including his own headlining act. The kids got talent!

 

 

Wheezing with Wiz

Wiz Khalifa – Click for more images

Sleep Train Arena turned into a haven for pot smokers as Wiz Khalifa and his band of recording artists, under the record label Taylor Gang, brought throngs of fans to the arena formerly known as Power Balance Pavilion Sunday night.

Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang 2050 World Tour is in support of Khalifa’s latest album O.N.I.F.C.

Car alarms could be heard going off on a regular basis, as a large number of “pre-drinkers” and pot smokers were hanging out in the parking lot prior to the show.

While fans were filing into the arena, a thick cloud of smoke could be seen rising above the sold-out crowd. Wheezing was the watch word because as the crowd grew, so did the cloud.

Tuki Carter – Click for more images

As Fans pushed and shoved their way to the front,  security was having to extract people who had bitten off a bit more than they could chew. There were a couple of instances where people were being pulled out of the crowd after they had lost consciousness. In fact, one fan had to have only been 10 or 11 years old.

Berner – Click for more images

These concerts are not for the faint of heart, and not the type of event parents should be dropping off their kids so they can have a nice quiet dinner alone. I was shocked to see so many young kids.

Taylor Gang is a recording label established by Wiz Khalifa. The “gang” on Sunday night consisted of Tuki Carter, Berner, Lola Monroe, Chevy Woods, Juicy J and of course Khalifa.

Lola Monroe – Click for more images

 

The audience was into the show from the start as Tuki Carter took the stage followed by Berner and Lola Monroe, each playing about 10 or 15 minutes. The short sets didn’t hamper their efforts to get the crowd excited as each came out and gave it their all.

Chevy Woods and Juicy J both performed for about 30 minutes each, followed by Khalifa who performed for over an hour.

Chevy Woods – click for more images

It was quite a night with almost the entire audience smoking freely while girls were being invited up onstage to “party.”  At times it was hard to tell where the smoke was coming from, smoke machines or the hundreds of joints being lit up throughout the arena.

Juicy J – Click for more images

Just prior to Khalifa coming out onstage, it was obvious a few fans saved the best for last, as they were holding on to finger sized joints with lighters at the ready.

It was a smoking good concert!

That was One Sorry Concert at PBP!

LMFAO - Click for more images

Matthew Koma - Click for more images

LMFAO brought their Sorry for Party Rocking Tour to Power Balance Pavilion on Wednesday, playing to 7,000 adoring fans, most dressed in neon green and yellow, with some donning an afro wig (shoot – can I say afro?).

Before LMFAO came out to party rock, there were several starters on tap. Leading off the charge was Matthew Koma, who didn’t do it for me. Let’s just say by the time he was done, I was in a coma (that’s a joke. I really wasn’t in a coma). Apparently he’s an American Idol fan, as he add some Phil Phillip type mannerisms during parts of  his performance.

Eva Simons - Click for more images

Up to bat next was the very sexy Eva Simons who kicked some major butt. The Rhianna look-alike was energetic, sounded great, and looked even better! She sang several songs including her hit “Take Over Control” and her latest release “I Don’t Like You.” Expect to see bigger and better thing for Simons.

DJ Sidney Sampson brought his mixing skills as he weaved some great dance beats together, bringing much of the audience to their feet.

FM - Click for more images

If anyone’s seen Far East Movement (aka FM) before, you’ll understand what I mean when I say, they jumped up on stage. This crew has some wicked high energy and some real catchy tunes such as “Like a G6″ and “Round Round.”

With DJ Virman providing much of the tunes and Kev Nish providing lead vocals, FM energized the crowd in preparation for LMFAO as they bounce, hopped, skipped, and jumped on every inch of the stage. This included J-Splif and Prohgress who provided backup vocals and some entertaining moves.

In preparation for LMFAO’s appearance, several young ladies came out and threw flashing styrofoam glow-sticks to the audience. As I sat back and watched the audience you could see a sea of lime green as fans prepared themselves to party rock.

RedFoo - Click for more images

 

Prior to LMFAO making their appearance, a man dressed in the wildest glowing outfit sang  “Rocking the Beat” as the Quest dance crew did their thing. Berry Gordy’s son RedFoo and grandson SkyBlu (RedFoo is SkyBlu’s uncle) arrived on stage during “Rock the Beat” at the top of a two tiered stage, making for quite an entrance.

Dressed in their signature attire they started with “Sorry For Party Rocking” right out of the chute, causing the crowd to go absolutely crazy. As they were flying around the stage several members of their crew started throwing out beach balls, inflatable zebra’s, and palm trees.

There were several costume changes throughout the show, most notable was during “Put That A$$ to Work,” when several members of the crew came out in the most outrageous workout clothes imaginable. And yes, they were neon, bright, and way too revealing.

If you don’t like their music, don’t let that stop you from going to see a live performance. These two know how-to keep an audience totally engaged and completely entertained. It’s nothing but pure fun with a whole lotta neon – let’s not forget about the inflatable toys.

 

 

 

 

KNCI’s Country Christmas

JaneDear - Click for more images

Not to be out done by 107.9 The End’s Jingle Ball, Sacramento’s country music radio station 105.1 KNCI held their own Christmas celebration at Power Balance Pavilion on Saturday.

KNCI’s Country Christmas concert was an evening packed with country greats including The JaneDear Girls, American Idol finalist Danny Gokey, Sacramento’s own Attwater, Craig Campbell, and duo Montgomery Gentry.

Leading the pack was The JaneDear Girls coming out singing “Merry Go Round” followed by “Shotgun Girl.” The duo, made up of Susie Brown (vocals, mandolin, fiddle, bass, guitar, accordion) and Danelle Leverett (vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica) are well versed in a number of instruments and they were continually switching instruments.

 Brown also treated the audience to a fantastic solo piece with the fiddle. Quite impressive!

Attwater - Click for more images

Local country music sensation Attwater came out with both barrels blasting singing “Daydreaming” and “Runnin”. The duo, consisting of Erika Attwater and Jonathon Richards, had an extra band member. Sorry, but I wasn’t able to get her name. I will research and update this as soon as I find out. She was awesome playing the Ukulele.

 

Craig Campbell - Click for more images

Craig Campbell followed Attwater. Obviously he has a lot of fans in the Sacramento area because the crowd went wild as he came out on stage. Towards the end of his set he sang his newly recorded Christmas song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Dedicating it to Specialist Ben Nichols and his girlfriend Michelle.

Michelle, Specialist Ben Nichols, Pat and Tom

The couple met at Country in the Park a couple of years ago and Nichols couldn’t make it to this years event, so he recorded a special message for everyone at this years Country in the Park. Pat and Tom brought Michelle onstage and asked her what is the one thing she wanted most for Christmas. She responded “To have Ben home,” at which point the brought Nichols onstage.

Danny Gokey - Click for more images

American Idol alumni Danny Gokey kicked his set off with “Bad Timing” and “Be Somebody.” Gokey sang a couple of his songs as well as a couple of covers. He did a great job working the crowd and getting them on their feet.

Montgomery Gentry - click for more images

Montgomery Gentry blasted onto the stage and showed everyone in attendance why they were headlining the show. Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery were high energy with Montgomery stealing the show. He was all over the stage swinging the mic stand around like it was nothing. They started their set with “Hillbilly Shoes” and “Ever Stop Loving Me,” with the audience on their feet and cheering throughout their set and ended with “Gone.”

 

 

The JaneDear Girls:
Merry Go Round
Shotgun Girl
Goodbye Earl
Lucky You
Fiddle (instrumental)
Footloose
Wild Flower
 Danny Gokey:
Like That’s A Bad Thing
Be Somebody
What Hurts The Most
Get Away
Second Hand Heart
O Holy Night
Crazy Not To
T-R-O-U-B-L-E
My Best Days
Life is A Highway
Livin’ On A Prayer
Attwater:
Daydreaming
Runnin
New Life
You Got Away
All I want for Christmas
 Montgomery Gentry:
Hillbilly Shoes
Ever Stop Loving Me
Back When I Knew it All
Something to be Proud of
Damn Right I Am
Where I come From
Hell Yeah
Lucky Man
Roll With Me
My Town
What do You Think About That
One in Every Crowd
Gone

 

 

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Josh Groban

Sacramento Events

Click for more images - Make sure to click on slideshow!

Josh Groban and his team of very talented artists played to a capacity crowd at Power Balance Pavilion on Thursday night.

I was a little surprised when I arrived at around 7:30 and the opening act Eric Lewis, better known as ELEW, had already started. I double checked my ticket to find the opening act had started a tad early. The concert was scheduled to start at 8:00.

I was really looking forward to hearing his entire set. You see ELEW is a pianist and plays a melding of ragtime, rock and pop that he calls Rockjazz. (I just love saying pianist, it sounds so damn nasty). Well this dude was dressed more like a gladiator in his shiny silver arm band and black duds. He also played the friggin’ piano like a gladiator. Damn he was intense.

Then came the man of the hour and all the Grobanites, as his fans are referred to, rejoiced. The stage setup was high tech, yet intimate with Groban appearing on a small stage toward the middle of the crowd. By the end of the third song he made his way to the main stage.

The main stage was fabulously designed. Giving you an intimate feeling yet creating a larger than life set. The background was very high tech and appeared to be an ornate building. The color would change and during some songs it would change completely only to flash back into a solid wall.

Groban has a great stage presence and was pretty laid back in his delivery. With his velvety voice, sensitive demeanor and his boy next door good looks, it was obvious that the women in the audience were paying particularly close attention to everything he had to say. Giggling at things that weren’t even funny! Jeeez.

Groban went on to tell the audience how, at this very location, he was discovered in 1999 during Governor Gray Davis’ inauguration. At the time he was just 16 years old, and world-renowned multi-Grammy-winning producer/writer/arranger David Foster was in the audience when he performed. The rest as they say is history.

Throughout the concert Groban took questions that were texted to him from audience members. He gave their name, row, and seat number so the spot light could be shined on them while he answered their questions. He was asked – How do you like your eggs in the morning? Groban – Over easy with salsa. Another question was – What’s your next movie or TV role? Groban ““ The Office as Andy’s younger brother.

One audience member in particular, Beth Guido, had texted Groban letting him know how he’s been such an inspiration to her since she started singing. Groban immediately asked her on stage and even went out into the audience to bring her up. Trying to figure out what she would sing, Groban asked if it was anyone’s birthday. So Guido sang happy birthday, along with Groban, to audience member Lisa. Guido was awesome and the audience love it.

It was quite a moment when he ended the evening with his signature song “You Raise Me Up”. The audience was in awe and during the chorus everyone was singing along. It was one of those goose bump kinda moments.

Groban’s music isn’t for everyone and is more, what I would refer to as; gospel/crooner, but some would say pop music. Putting that aside, he is quite the entertainer mixing just the right amount of music with audience participation and good humor, and let’s face it ““ it was great just seeing the fabulously put together stage.

The Set-list for the evening was:Straight to You
Changing Colors
February Song
You are Loved
Oceano
Alejate
Bells of NYC
Higher Window
Alla Luce Del Sole
War at Home
Live and Let Die
Voce Overture
Voce
Galileo
Awake
Weeping
Machine
Broken Vow
Per TeEncore
Play me
You Raise Me Up

 

Eric Clapton Arrives . . .

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Finally! Eric Clapton performed (a little late) to a full house Thursday night at the newly renamed Power Balance Pavilion. But it was worth the wait!

Los Lobos began their set just after 7:30 p.m. and played for over an hour due to Clapton’s late arrival. The crowd was mostly calm during the set of Los Lobos, but one could sense the tension building the longer they played. Once Clapton finally arrived on stage with his trademark Stratocaster, the crowd broke into a frenzy.

It was classic Clapton from the moment he stepped onto the stage, starting with “Key to the Highway” and “Going Down Slow.” He performed several acoustic songs, including “Layla,” but the biggest disappointment of the night was that he didn’t perform “Tears In Heaven,” my personal favorite.

 

Clapton’s set-list:
“Key to the Highway”
“Going Down Slow”
“Hoochie Coochie Man”
“Old Love”
“I Shot the Sheriff”
“Driftin’”
“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”
“River Runs Deep”
“Same Old Blues”
“When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful”
“Layla” ““ seated Gibson ES 335
“Badge”
“Wonderful Tonight”
“Before You Accuse Me”
“Little Queen of Spades”
“Cocaine”
“Further on up the Road”

Clapton was accompanied by Willie Weeks on bass, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums, and Sharon White and Michelle John on vocals.

A strange thing happened to me on the way to the concert. As I was driving to the Power Balance Pavilion, formerly known as Arco Arena, I heard Sacramento Press Editor in Chief David Watts Barton talking about some guy named Clapton on KFBK. OMG! I was on my way to see the very same guy for the Sac Press! How strange is that? Barton was talking about how Clapton was the first act at the Sacramento Sports Arena (sometimes referred to as the Original Arco Arena), the Arco Arena, and now the Power Balance Pavilion. At least that’s what I thought I heard since I only caught the tail end of the conversation. By the way, David, you give good radio.

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