JAYZ - TIDAL B SIDES CONCERT
My favorite Concert thus far has been The Jay Z and Tidal ‘B sides’ concert. Jay along many others he brought out to the stage, performed EVERY track that he never got to perform in any of his other concerts. THAT'S A LOT OF SONGS... Usually ‘b sides’ on phonograph records are the non mainstream tracks, like ‘22 two’s’ from the Reasonable Doubt album which was special to me, because it was the first Jay Z song I had ever been exposed to when I was like 12 years old. I immediately fell in love with his witty wordplay and metaphors. Aside from all of that, that show was legendary from the people who performed to the behind the scene legends that were in the building, an unforgettable night.
MADE IN AMERICA
My favorite concert to date is Made in America 2017. I got to go this year with my friend and EIC Yari Blanco and her friend Gineth. We had been looking forward to this for weeks and were praying there'd be no rain... but of course the weather wasn't listening. Despite the rain and almost dying during the Migos set due to getting caught a mosh pit that NONE of us signed up for, it was a great experience. That Saturday, day one, Sampha hit the stage and henwas EVERY-THING. I know his voice was created by the angels themselves because it made it okay to be drenched in the rain.
After the Migos ordeal (where we only managed to get out because of a tall guy next to us who made his way through the crowd) we made our way back towards the stage to see the sister we all wish we had— Solange. The rain subsided during her set because I mean, DUH. Her energy and presence were majestic, full of all the black girl magic we all feel inspired by —and she shared it with us. Forever grateful. Solange is such a gem and I love her so much. *sighs* I’m currently reliving this moment as I type this up. This was my first time seeing her live and I didn’t want her to leave the stage... but J. Cole was next, and everyone who knows me knows how I feel about him.... president of the Cole Appreciation Club.
The rain unfortunately started back on it's bullshit, BUT it was eerily perfect since his first line coming out was “I see the raaaiiin pouring down before my very eyes...”. I’m not gonna get into my feelings with this, seeing how this was my 4th time seeing him live and my second time seeing this specific set (since it was a part of his For Your Eyez Only tour; which I went to at Barclays. AH-MAZING). He was worth the shoving, the standing, the mud, and all of the crazy of day one. I'm glad he closed out Saturday night. The soul needed that.
Sunday, the sun was out! The weather was beautiful, and it was Jay Day! TBH I was a little bummed because outside of Jay Z, the only person I was excited to see was Wiz Kid, but he was taken off the bill for unexplained reasons (we're still waiting for an explanation). Now let me tell you HOW Jay surpassed my expectations. First off, I’ve only seen him once before and that was with Beyonce for the On The Run tour... loved every bit of that! However for this, I was wondering what he would do to wow the crowd. But that was a ridiculous thing to wonder....IT'S JAY Z! The curtain dropped and we were greeted by the larger than life Jeff Koons balloon. Jay started with BAM, one of my faves, and had the great Damien Marley on stage with him. From there he began doing a mix of old and new songs, and I was living... until he abruptly ended the set. I was confused about that, but shrugged it off and was just happy I saw him.
As the girls and I started to walk out of the space, Mr. Carter decides to appear on ANOTHER stage (!!!) and continues his set like nothing happened. We stopped and looked at each other in awe. And it was in that moment I realized he’d be getting my coins for the 4:44 tour.
Photos of Solange by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Normally, this would be really really really hard for me to choose but I had the great honor of spending a weekend in Queens, NY for the Meadows Festival last month + that experience completely changed my life. I got to see Jay-Z, my soulmate Nas, Future, Blood Orange, M.I.A., the Gorillaz, Run the Jewels, TV on the Radio and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
As you all know by now I am a die hard fan of Jay-Z. I’ve seen him in concert three times and the last one was the one that tipped the scale for me. But it wasn't just his performance that left a lasting impression on me — it was the way I felt so connected to him, despite being in a sea of people. Every time I see him, it feels like it’s just him and I… that’s the magic. And this time, it wasn't just him who reached out and grabbed my heart — it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers too. I’m a little teary eyed right now as I type this... so yeah, it was THAT serious.
First of all, I became a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 7th grade, I was a 12 year old brown girl who had fallen in love with Radiohead and Coldplay two years prior — I had never heard agony and ecstasy on a track the way RHCP delivers it. Up until then — Thom Yorke of Radiohead spoke to my brooding side that questioned everything and Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke to my big ol’ soft caramel core — BUT Anthony Kiedis was the man that finally was able to speak to both layers at once. I felt so connected to his lyrics and the message of raunchy, unabashed fun of RHCP. Then I heard ‘Scar Tissue’ for the first time and until this day — it makes me emotional. I can remember the exact moment I heard those first few guitar riffs and I vividly recall the way my chest tightened when the lyrics melted into me. I don’t think a song has ever captured my experiences with unrequited love quite like that song has.
The first time I heard this song was a Sunday in 2004. I was on the Bx3 heading home, listening to it on my cousin Stefanie’s iPod (we used to switch iPods to listen to new music) and I remember feeling my heart wrench and my chest heave as the lyrics sunk into me. It felt like I wrote this song myself.
13 years later, I got to sing along with them and my life will never be the same. Singing along to the song that has gotten me through so much emotional anguish sort of validated all those feelings, both spoken and unspoken. Singing along with RHCP and a crown of thousands of people while tears ran down my face was like a baptism. It was like a gospel. Singing along with RHCP crystallized my teenage angst and the insecurities that my adult self inherited from this time of learning about myself. It felt like this song was written for me just so I could sing along at this festival years later.
Photos of Red Hot Chili Peppers by P Squared
I'm not a wordy person but to sum up how I felt when I saw Frank Ocean perform at Panaroma Fest was DREAM like. Instead of being on a normal stage facing attendees he had a stage set up in the middle of the crowd. I was in the perfect area, because I spoke to a few ladies who happened to be at his mic check the day before and saw his stage set up. Location, location!
Frank in the middle of the crowd with three huge screens on the stage showing his live performance. Yes you read that right, the legendary Spike Jonze was filming Frank Ocean during his performance. It was a VHS type playback which made it feel like I was in a basement turned recording studio hanging out with Frank Ocean watching old performances.
He spoke to the audience during his performance as if we were all his close friends hanging in an intimate setting. I felt like I could reach out and touch him.
I wanted to cry, because the last time I saw Frank perform it was at Coachella (2012) and it was right after a break up and I was balling the whole time when he performed "Thinking Bout You", because that was our song. TRIGGERED, yes. This time I didn't cry (jk... I def did).
Photos of Frank Ocean shot by me.
JUAN LUIS GUERRA - SANTO DOMINGO
I was 14 years old and my cousin Prandy was like "you're coming with me to this concert". I had never been to a concert in my life and didn't really know what to expect. What's more is that I wasn't sure of who Juan Luis Guerra was at that age... now I am fully aware that he is a national treasure of Dominican Republic, and should be protected at all costs. My guy Juan studied jazz and philosophy which helps me understand how he can be such a G— such a VERDUGO, when it comes to lyrics and ballads. He's written some of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard in my life and is indeed one of my favorite artists.
So my cousin drags my 14 year old ass to this concert, and I'm excited because it felt very adult to get dressed and ready to go see someone perform. The concert was held in El Estadio Olimpico de Santo Domingo, which is an outdoor venue. I remember looking around at all the beautiful people and feeling giddy. I also remember laughing and feeling a little shocked when the crowd started to scream "calbo" aka bald head towards the President of DR; whom at the time was Hipolito Mejia. It was not a chant of yey you're here with us! it was a chant of we don't fuck with you, please go back to your house. Dominicans DON'T PLAY. Anyway, there was a giant countdown on the screen on stage and everyone thought that he'd come out at 4:40 because of his band with the same name... nope.
When he did come out, he came out on a bicycle singing 'El Niagara en Bicicleta' and I was mesmerized. The entire show was such an unforgettable experience. People danced with each other (I def danced my little culito off), laughed and were in high spirits. I left high on life, falling in love with my wonderful people and patria.