Yesterday was one of those no good, very bad days. I gave in to a killer headache around lunch time and went home to try and sleep it off. I woke up from a six hour coma feeling better only to hear of the tragic passing of a true gem of the Twin Cities music scene. My headache was gone but was just replaced by a broken heart. I didn’t know him all that well but he was such a figure in the local music scene that I had gotten used to seeing him around and sharing a high five here and there to the point where the realization that I would never get another high-five or see him behind a soundboard had me realizing how short life really is. People deal with grief and emotions differently and as majority of the scene headed to the bars that he frequented, I got in my car and went to the only place that brings me peace– a concert.

I was instantly greeted by an unfamiliar crowd as I walked through the doors of The Skyway Theatre and into the giant theatre part of the venue. Definitely out of my element being at a show headlined by a top-40 rapper, I still felt a sense of instant relief and solace. I made it to the venue just in time to catch opening act Abbey Jasmine. The sole female on this tour, Abbey wasted no time in getting the already rowdy crowd into a very party vibe. I struggled to find any information on this lady this morning to the point where I couldn’t even tell you where she is from other than the fact that Minnesota is a long way from home for her. Regardless of where she’s from, how old she is or any other stats, Abbey had infectious raps that had me tapping my toe along to the beat. Commanding the stage and quickly growing crowd with ease, this is an act to keep your eye on.

Opening sets were short and in no time Abbey Jasmine was being replaced by A1 Bentley. This guys has collaborated with just about everyone in the scene but seems to always be overshadowed by said collaborators. A1’s music, much like Abbey’s, was nothing short of infectious and the sold out audience was eating up every note like it was the last one they would ever hear. There was something intense and in your face about A1 Bentley’s performance that was almost a bit intimidating but when he performed a song while sitting on the edge of the stage that intimidation was gone. Full of energy and life, A1 was the perfect act to perform right before the one and only T-Pain took the stage.

T-Pain is one of those performers that needs no introduction. You know his song, you know his auto-tuned signature- I mean, you know who he is. Here’s the thing about T-Pain though, he’s so much more than that auto-tune rapper. The sole reason I wanted to be at last night’s show was to prove a point about this man. Although he definitely has the ultra-lush lifestyle and has become the butt end of too many jokes, he is a truly talented man with a heart made of gold and a passion for the music. As soon as he took the stage there was this feeling of pure joy that came over me. With a long white coat on, T-Pain just kind of stood there while hanging on the microphone. He didn’t say anything but the crowd kept screaming. With chants and just incoherent screams, I couldn’t quite tell why he was just standing there but I loved the atmosphere that the tension was creating. Then, just like that, T-Pain jumped into an almost non-stop set that would last over thirty songs and leave me breathless, speechless, and forgetting about how “off” my day was.

Born Faheem Rasheed Najm, at only 33 years old T-Pain has truly found his niche. With too many hit singles to list, a million and twelve collaborations that are the type of songs that instantly get stuck in your head, and now the title of The Masked Singer winner (spoiler alert), I seriously admire this man for how hard he has worked. Sure, the auto-tune was working overtime throughout his performance last night but there were moments where I got a glimpse into the real voice– the voice that I heard on his NPR Tiny Desk Concert series that moved him from a joke to a true inspiration for me. From hit songs to B-sides to covers and more, T-Pain had no problem controlling both the stage and audience. Rarely standing still, he did an amazing job of engaging everyone regardless of what side of the venue you were on. It didn’t matter what song he was playing, there was a sense of passion that was coming from him the refused to be ignored regardless of where you were.

I can not say enough about the atmosphere that T-Pain had created throughout the sold out crowd. Clearly a party atmosphere, everyone was having fun and had giant smiles on their faces even as they were getting bumped around by strangers. With nowhere to go to find a personal bubble, it was impossible to not get lost in it all, let loose, and just go with it which was exactly what I needed.

Yesterday was just a bad day for me. From the headache to the realization of how everything can change in the blink of an eye… it would have been so easy to just shut myself in my apartment and sleep. You can’t dwell on stuff, you can’t let things you can’t control get you down… you have to find what brings you peace and, for me, that’s concerts– regardless of what kind.

Line Up:

Abbey Jasmine

A1 Bentley

T-Pain

Venue: Skyway Theatre

Sausage Fest Meter- 6 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 24

Crowd Surfers- None Spotted

Groove-Ability- 8.7 out of 10

Stage Divers- None

Broken Bones- 0

Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing

Fights- 0

Pukers- 0

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 2

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score- 8.3 out of 10

Show on Deck- Open Mike Eagle/ Video Dave/ Sammus/ Medium Zach

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