Despite his dominance of the Top-40 singles chart, the famously auto-tuned T-Pain delivered an underwhelming performance at Saturday night’s concert in McDonough. This year’s iteration of the annual GPB Spring Concert disappointment was marked by a lackluster set of seemingly lip-synched dance songs played to a less-than-capacity crowd (Update: According to GPB Concert Chair Danny Fortin, tickets were sold out and the reason the crowd was so intimate was they had to stay under the University’s fire code limit of 2,500).
Opening acts Tay Dizm and Sophia Fresh (both signed to T-Pain’s own Nappy Boy label) attempted to warm up the crowd with high-energy dance beats, but were met with impatient indifference or confusion by the crowd. Sophia Fresh’s act didn’t seem to connect with the majority in attendance; when she yelled, in an effort to elicit some noise out of the almost comatose crowd, “how many men out there have been with a lady from the hood?” it was awkwardly silent. Tay Dizm’s dreadlocked appearance led to some confusion as to whether he was actually T-Pain, as drunken bros chanted “T-Pain” at him while he performed an on-stage striptease, slowly removing his shirt, gyrating to the music and exposing his diamond-grilled grin.
Tay Dizm left the stage around 10:20, leaving DJ Lil’ Boy a full 40 minutes to bide everyone’s time until T-Pain arrived. The energy in the gymnasium got a quick boost when Lil’ Boy began playing dance songs people actually knew, but he was unable to keep it going for long, and eventually people settled into restlessness as the minutes dragged on.
The main event, after the jump!
Around 11:00, T-Pain made his show-stopping entrance, driving onto the stage in a pimped-out golf cart, flanked by two superman-caped, face-painted dancers. He got a huge roar from the crowd and launched into his dreadlock-swinging dance moves. Unfortunately, his set mostly went downhill from there, quickly becoming repetitive and tiresome. At times, his set seemed suspiciously lip-synched: when he set down his microphone to launch into a particularly complex dance move, the sound of his voice on the speaker system didn’t changed at all.
Not that anyone could really hear it anyway. The sound was so bass-heavy that it was difficult to discern exactly who was singing and who was rapping at any given moment, which is probably just what T-Pain and his crew wanted. Since T-Pain is usually a featured guest on popular songs, appearing on just the chorus or a single verse, most of his set consisted of 90-second snippets of singles. That kind of rapid-fire progression might make another artist’s set seem disjointed or incoherent, but it didn’t seem to matter here, when the focus was really on the audience’s dancing, which continued regardless of what song T-Pain was pretending to sing.
Still, what more could anyone expect from T-Pain? The bass was loud, the lights were bright, there were no “wardrobe malfunctions,” and when he did “I’m on a Boat,” everyone loved it. It wasn’t memorable, but at least it wasn’t Coolio.
Photo from Flickr user minusbaby, used under a Creative Commons license.