My expectation is that a fan doesn't attend a Black Eyed Peas and Pussycat Dolls concert that features the chance to win a pimped out Honda Civic to witness art. You go to be entertained. For this simple goal, both the Pussycat Dolls and the Black Eyed Peas were up to the task.
Pussycat Dolls Take the Stage
Before the headlining group appeared, Pussycat Dolls had the opportunity to warm up the crowd. The Dolls' surprise smash hit music is a good match for the pop-funk-hip hop of the Peas. Onstage the Pussycat Dolls are neither stunning nor awful. They show off the thrift store/sports gear blend present in the group's photo shoots and music videos while dancing and grinding across the stage. Like their music, in person, the Dolls exude upfront sexuality that avoids any reference to hardcore raunch
Unlike many opening acts, the Pussycat Dolls were able to bring with them a clutch of recent major hit singles - "Don't Cha," "Stickwitu," and "Beep." The familiarity of the songs helped the set slide by leaving the crowd entertained and primed for the headlining act.
The Enigma That Is Black Eyed Peas
Few current bands have so polarized both fans and critics with recent releases as the Black Eyed Peas. The band's breakthrough 2003 hymn to peace "Where is the Love?" was highly praised and is still one of the most appreciated pop hits of the past 5 years. However, only 2 years later the Peas released "My Humps," one of the most reviled of recent major pop hit singles. This brings up the question of which is the real Black Eyed Peas? Watching the band in concert the answer seems to be more "both" instead of "one or the other." The music from the stage careened from themes of world peace and unity to sophomoric sexual tease without a hint of concern from the group's fans.
Entertaining the Audience
The Black Eyed Peas took the stage preceded by an amateurish video intended to provide a note of slapstick humor. It succeeded primarily in creating a sense of worry of what would follow next. Fortunately, most of the worries were unfounded. The Peas create an atmosphere of, at times, barely controlled chaos onstage, but their focus is clearly on entertaining their audience. From my observations, this was the mission they clearly accomplished.
Aside from hit songs like "Pump It!" and "Don't Lie," the show was filled with plenty of shouted audience participation to keep the energy high. A tribute to classic hip hop and Fergie's inimitable Axl Rose impersonation warbling the first few bars of "Sweet Child O' Mine" added history with more than a hint of comedy.
Uniquely Black Eyed Peas
As the show continued the Black Eyed Peas demonstrated more of their unique features as a performing unit. The group slowed the proceedings to give an opportunity for each member to gain the spotlight for a few moments. The diverse personalities and multi-ethnic backgrounds of will.i.am., apl.de.ap, Taboo, and Fergie were celebrated and informed the un-initiated of the not-so-easy blend that is uniquely Black Eyed Peas.
Carrying the individual introductions to every member of the backing band tried the patience of the crowd, but it wasn't long before an extended finale featuring "Where Is the Love?" and "Let's Get It Started" had the audience bouncing and shouting along in unison. If entertainment was the goal, Black Eyed Peas pulled it off.